Continuity of medical care
Since funding for free and charitable clinics, such as ours, have been declining it is useful to identify the health care qualities that our patients value the most. These include; continuity of medical care, faith-based care, and having an effective patient medical provider partnership. Lack of transportation, medication, and health care information has proven to be huge barriers to affordable health care for our patients.
The health care "gap" Affordable Care Act (ACA)
Even though the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has expanded Medicaid services to include: (1) adults under the age of 65 who earn below 138% of the federal poverty line and (2) working families who earn between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty line, our patients are unable to purchase health insurance through the ACA created health care marketplace. This is because, the state of Florida has not expanded Medicaid, which leaves thousands of Floridians without health care coverage. This has created a health care "gap", which includes patients such as ours who are either eligible for Medicaid, but have no access, or have income too high to qualify for Medicaid, but still cannot afford medical insurance despite public subsidies and tax credits.The Good Samaritan Free Clinic helps to bridge this gap in health care coverage by providing services to fit the medical needs of the uninsured population in the Fort Pierce community.
Standard Medical Care Unbound by Insurance Coverage
Without the services provided by our clinic, the uninsured in our community will not have access to the same standard of medical care and preventive services provided to the insured population, as a result, they may likely experience a delay in disease diagnosis. A delay in diagnosis and preventative care ultimately leads to negative health outcomes and higher healthcare costs. In addition, financial stressors, in this population, have been shown to lead to increased levels of depression and anxiety that negatively impacts or worsen other mental and physical ailments. Our clinic, therefore, have become a vital contributor to the medical and preventative care of the uninsured in our community.
We are finding that most uninsured patients would either not seek medical care or would use the emergency department if free clinics were not available. The Good Samaritan Free Clinic serves to lessen the burden placed on our community hospital’s emergency department by providing care that is comparable to the national standard of care. Our patients have reported to; receive increased staff friendliness, a generalized positive perception of the depth of their medical condition, and spend an increased amount of quality time with their volunteer medical providers.