There are several key factors that must be considered before you open a free clinic:
- Needs Assessment: Does the community need a free clinic? Are there other resources in place – Federal or State Health Centers, Health Departments, etc, – that already serve the uninsured?
- Community Support: Will the community support the clinic – will they volunteer their time, donate their money, advocate for the clinic, etc.?
- Volunteers: Who are the volunteers who are committed to giving their time at the clinic? How much time are volunteers willing to give? How many hours per week will the clinic be able to operate?
- A “Champion”: Almost all successful free clinics have a clinic “Champion”, someone who is passionate about serving the uninsured. Typically, this person is a medical provider – but it doesn’t have to be.
- Hospital Support: Additionally, successful free clinics have the active support of their local hospital, including serving on the clinic Board, providing in-kind lab work and other services, encouraging medical providers to volunteer, and providing financial support.
- Location: Where will the clinic be held? Where will supplies be housed? Is the location easily accessible by the public?
- A Diverse, Active Board: Successful clinics have Boards that represent a cross-section of the community, and are active Boards – they volunteer, participate and donate – 100%.
Many factors are critical to the success of a free clinic. CHN can help guide and support you through this process. Contact us for more information.