‘We weren’t expecting this’: Bradley Free Clinic balances unprecedented demand with lack of funding

ROANOKE, Va. – The coronavirus pandemic has caused many people to lose their jobs and in turn, their health insurance, putting a huge strain on clinics that provide health care for free.

Two and a half years ago, Reggie Long was rushed to the hospital for a health scare that was also a financial scare.

“I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know where to go. They said they were going to release me but I needed a place to go. I needed special help, special attention or I wouldn’t be able to make it,” said Long, who’s a patient at the Bradley Free Clinic.

That’s when Long found the Bradley Free Clinic in Roanoke.

“I know I couldn’t afford it nowhere else. I wouldn’t be around ‘cause I don’t think I would’ve made it two weeks after that and here it is, two and a half years,” Long said.

Long’s story is one of many at the clinic, providing much-needed health care for low-income and uninsured people. Since the start of COVID-19, that population in the Star City has skyrocketed.