It’s a clinic on wheels and it’s riding into Stamford. On Thursday, AmeriCares celebrated the opening of the city’s first free health clinic for the uninsured, the fourth in the state.
“A few years ago we realized this is what we wanted to do, is to start a program in Stamford, and we looked at the need in Stamford and found that about 1 in 5 people in the city are without health insurance,” says Karen Gottlieb, AmeriCares Free Clinics Executive Director.
“The reality is that we have to make sure that all of the folks who are living in our state, in our city, or in our nation have access to quality healthcare,” says Governor Dannel Malloy. “It makes little sense to have folks put off treatment to a time when that treatment may not be successful, but will be so much more expensive.”
The 40 foot bus, equipped with two exam rooms, makes scheduled stops 3 days a week, providing care to low-income Stamford and Darien residents without health insurance.
“There is sort of unconditional, highly professional care provided in a way that acknowledges the fact that poverty is a circumstance, it is not a personal characteristic,” says AmeriCares President and CEO Curt Welling.
To date, AmeriCares has raised 2 million of its $2.5 million fundraising goal for the Stamford clinic. The clinic is expected to provide over 1,000 patient visits and about $900,000 in free health care services in its first year.
“It isn’t just that it focuses on working poor people and the uninsured poor in Fairfield County, it isn’t just that we provide an integrated service which is the alternative to the emergency room in the local hospital,” says Welling. ”It is the peace of mind and the dignity that people receive when they walk into one of our clinics.”
For more information visit americaresfreeclinics.org