Reprinted with permission of The Pilot

Free Clinic Has Provided More than $4 Million in Care


BY CLAUDIA WATSON: SPECIAL TO THE PILOT

Since opening its doors in April 2004, Moore Free Care Clinic has provided more than $4 million in care and prescription medications to the limited-income, uninsured residents of Moore County.

According to its quarterly report ending Sept. 30, the clinic's 1,456 registered patients have benefited from 6,500 office visits, hundreds of consults with specialists, dental care, mental health care, and laboratory, X-rays, and other diagnostic tests.

Clinic patients are typically high-school educated, perhaps with some college experience, and their ethnicity matches the makeup of the Moore County community. Patients' incomes must fall at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty guideline. For a family of four, the annual income would be about $31,000.

In many of these families the children are eligible for Medicaid, but their parents are not eligible for the same government assistance.

Forty percent of the clinic's patients are employed, but they either are not offered health insurance or are not eligible for it. They cannot afford to pay for it on their own. Sometimes they lack health insurance because they work at more than one part-time job when full-time employment with benefits is not available.

Some patients are unemployed. Some are waiting for disability, and some are taking care of disabled relatives and living off that person's Social Security benefit.

All of the clinic's patients must meet eligibility requirements for services. These requirements include verification of income, Moore County residency, and the lack of any type of commercial health insurance, Medicaid, or Medicare.

Once the patients' eligibility is established, their health situations are reviewed, and they receive an examination by a medical provider. The clinic offers its patients a variety of high-quality primary and preventive medical care, mental health care, and prescription medications.

In just three years, it has developed several specialty clinics including cardiology; orthopedics; ear, nose and throat; physical therapy/back pain; ophthalmology; and dental. "

The clinic's chronic disease management program, patient pharmacy program, and the new patient mentoring program are examples of programs designed to help patients manage their chronic diseases so their quality of life improves and they can become more productive citizens," said Laura Tremper-Jones, executive director of the clinic. "These clinic programs have been enhanced by the generosity of our community."

According to Tremper-Jones, ongoing funding for these programs is required.

Many of the programs, which started from grants, are now reaching their funding time limits, which means more and more of the cost needs to be shared by the community.

To sustain its vital work, MFCC has established a budget of $420,000 for 2008. The clinic has posted its quarterly report and its recently audited financial statement on its Web site, www.moorefreecare.org. "

Please acquaint yourself with the operations of the clinic and see how your donations work for our patients," Tremper-Jones said. "As we begin the 2008 annual fund campaign, and once again ask for your support, we hope that you will be as generous as possible, remembering that contributions are 100 percent tax-deductible and that all funds received stay in this community to help your neighbors."

Moore Free Care Clinic is a registered nonprofit, tax-exempt corporation. It does not receive any federal or state funds and is dependent upon the generosity of the community. Tax-deductible contribution are welcome and can be mailed to Moore Free Care Clinic, P.O. Box 161, Pinehurst, NC 28387.

Donations can also be made using a credit card by visiting www.justgive.org. More information about Moore Free Care Clinic visit is available on its Web site at www.moorefreecare.org or by calling 947-6550.

Claudia Watson is a Pinehurst freelance writer and can be reached by e-mail at cwatson87@nc.rr.com.