Charitable Healthcare Network's (formerly the Ohio Association of Free Clinics) purpose is to be the voice and connector for members by providing resources, education and advocacy to strengthen and ensure high quality health care for people who are vulnerable. CHN is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization with 50 member clinics. We do not provide direct health care services on-site, but support those clinics that do. We also provide referrals to a health clinic for those seeking care. Free clinic services vary, but may include: primary care, prescription assistance, dental, vision, behavioral health and other specialties. Using cost-effective strategies, such as in-kind services and donations of health care resources and time, free clinics provide for the health care needs of their patients. These strategies mean that every dollar invested in free clinics brings nearly $18.00 in care for patients. Free and charitable clinics provide access to care for many who find themselves temporarily unemployed or unable to obtain employer-based health insurance.
In early 2000, several free clinics in Northeast Ohio determined the need for a collective body representing agencies that provide free health care throughout the state.
Funding from Volunteers in Health Care supported our First Annual Free Clinic Conference in October 2000, with approximately 20 clinics represented. The participants authorized a steering committee to pursue incorporation of the Ohio Association of Free Clinics.
The Association was incorporated in November 2000 and received approval for 501(c)(3) status in May 2002. The first Executive Director was hired in August 2002.
Funding from the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, under the Ohio Public Health Priorities Fund, was granted to OAFC and supported the work of the clinics from 2000-2008. OAFC is now supported by General Revenue Funds from the Ohio Department of Health as well as foundations and generous individual donors.
In 2018, the Membership of 48 clinics voted to expand membership to include charitable clinics, charitable pharmacies, charitable vision and dental clinics and Rural Health Clinics. Along with the expansion, they voted to change the association name to Charitable Healthcare Network.
Charitable Healthcare Network has more than doubled in size since our early days and supports 50 member clinics across the state of Ohio.