NEWS RELEASE...   Reprinted with the permission of The Pilot.    Copyright 2005 The Pilot.

Free Care Clinic Will Be a Year Old in April

By H. David Bruton, M.D.: Moore Free Care Clinic

One of America’s most important problems is the large number of our citizens who cannot afford the excellent medical care available. On April 29, 2005, we will complete our first year of serving our Moore County neighbors who earn less than the federal poverty level and have no health insurance.

Moore Free Care Clinic (MFCC) is clearly a niche player. We do not come close to meeting the total need. One of our goals for 2005 is to develop the resources to increase the number of patients we can help. This is a very generous community. We are confident that we will be able to increase our service capacity this year. We have learned a lot about how to run a free clinic this first eight months.

In a required pre-application interview for assistance, the director of the Kate B. Reynolds Foundation asked me our most important need. My immediate reply: “To stay in business.”

In Moore County, our hospital and physicians provide an amazing amount of uncompensated care. Yet they are the clinic’s major contributors. The hospital gives us a large cash grant and free lab and X-rays studies. The physicians are major cash contributors, and they contribute their professional services treating our patients. But we look to the community to “keep us in business.”

Providing prescription medicines is a major challenge. Pharmaceutical manufactures have a Prescription Assistance Program (PAP) that will provide most medicines free to patients who qualify. The paperwork is very exacting and detailed, but once we get the patient qualified, they can receive their medications free for a year.

We have a number of patients who have seen a physician but cannot afford their medicines. One of our projects for 2005 is to work with a group that is trying to establish a process that can receive free medications in bulk and dispense these medicines to our and other indigent patients. There is currently a six-week delay in PAP drug delivery. We fill this gap with samples, when we have them, and purchase the medicines when we must. Some of our pharmacies honor our MFFC prescriptions with deep discounts — sometimes even giving the medicine to the patient!

This year we would like to begin an electronic medical record in MFCC. We want to be a part of an exciting effort in our medical community. We plan to create an electronic medical record for every patient. The record would be available, with the patient’s permission, to all of the patient’s caregivers. The lab values, x-rays, consultations would be up to date and available to all with a need to know.

Nothing we can do in medicine would improve the quality of care more than institution of an excellent electronic medical record. This project will take years and cost millions of dollars. The hospital and physicians working together on this project will have a major impact on quality long before the project is complete. It is a blessing to live in a community where the Hospital and Physicians are serious about working together and improving the quality of medical care.

We need volunteers in every aspect of our clinic. Doctors, nurses, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, clerical workers, lab techs, administrators, secretaries, board members and contributors all are required to make our clinic succeed. If you think, you would like to join this effort, call and speak to our director, Laura (TJ) Tremper-Jones, or our secretary, Debbie Whitley. They will put you to work at the most rewarding job you have ever had.

The Moore Free Care Clinic can be reached at 947-6550.

About Moore Free Care Clinic

Moore Free Care Clinic provides high-quality primary, preventive and specialty care to limited income people living in Moore County who are uninsured and can't afford access to health care. Health care services at the clinic are provided by volunteers, including physicians, nurses, lab technicians, physician assistants, and clerical workers. The clinic is located at 705 Pinehurst Avenue, Carthage, NC 28327. For more information about the clinic, its volunteer opportunities or to provide a donation, please contact the clinic 910-947-6550 or visit its website, www.MooreFreeCare.org.