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Free Clinic in the Era of COVID-19

Message From Our Founding Director

Our patients at this time are particularly vulnerable. Many are elderly, and most have serious chronic illnesses, including diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. Some have kidney disease and are on dialysis. Many are parents and grandparents. Many are doing their best to raise children with love and strength. Others are alone.  The courage and grace of our patients are constant beacons and life teachings for all of us. And even more so, in these times of fear and uncertainty.

Our amazing medical directors, pharmacy team, students, staff, volunteers, social workers and promotoras have come together in the most remarkable ways to support our patients, providing care, medications, food, emotional and social support, as well as sustenance.

Our team is continuing to provide care by phone and telemedicine. Patients and families come to the free clinic parking lots and physicians carry medication and food to the patients’ cars, all within a safe distance. Our amazing students are providing social continuity calls to our patients, as well as delivering medications and food to their homes. Our mental health team is providing Spanish language phone counselling, and our social workers and promotoras are providing support and resources. We have provided our patients with trusted phone numbers that they can call and reach out if they are unwell or have concerns.

In the words of one of our student leaders---Many of the patients of Free Clinic are not eligible for many of the relief resources, have lost their jobs or will lose them soon, are concerned how they will feed their families, do not have a safe form of transportation to seek help, and are being ultimately impacted more than most people at this time. We hope to raise funds to go towards supporting our patients’ food and gas funds as well as other needs. We want to be able to provide the many medications that our patients need, of which we are already seeing a shortage, and on which our patients depend. A core insulin, which we provide to many of our diabetic patients, has doubled in price since the beginning of COVID-19. While we are trying our best to address our patients’ medical needs, there is no denying that physical health is influenced by life circumstances. We have always tried to take care of the whole wellbeing of our patients, and right now more than ever, this is the most challenging, yet the most important.

Help us be there for our patients in these challenging times. Please consider donating now. If you would like the funds to go to our patients’ current needs, please write "for patient needs in the COVID-19 era”, or something similar in the Comments section of the Donation page. We thank you for being part of the free clinic community, and want you to know that by your action, donation, and support, you are making a difference in the lives of people who have nowhere else to turn. We hope you will complete our brief, “Free Clinic Community Survey.”

 These days, I see all of us as members of the Mutual Inspiration Society. Thank you for being a source of inspiration! 

–Ellen Beck, M.D.