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Americares Free Health Clinic Sees Increased Demand For Services

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Courtesy of Americares
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A patient has her eyes examined at an Americares Free Clinic in Conn.

The Americares free health clinic in Stamford, Connecticut, is paying close attention to the debate over healthcare reform in Congress. The clinic serves people who don’t have insurance, and they’re particularly worried about how changes to the Affordable Care Act could increase demand for their services.

Karen Gottlieb, executive director of the Americares Free Clinics, says underserved communities will need even more care if congressional Republicans cut Medicaid.

“Anything that affects Medicaid coverage in the state is going to increase the need for healthcare. And it’s going to increase the need for low-income patients, which are the people we see.”

Over 120,000 Connecticut residents enrolled in Medicaid under the program’s expansion. Americares has helped 300 of its own patients enroll in the program in the past two years.

The Americares Free Clinic operated out of a 40-foot converted school bus for three years. The permanent clinic opened in January to serve more patients.

“Our patients are complicated. They don’t come in with a sore throat or a twisted ankle very often. Most of the time, they come in with diabetes that hasn’t been treated for 10 years. Or a number of different things that require a lot of visits, a lot of education, fair amount of medication and referral services. That takes a lot of time to do.”

The mobile clinic saw 850 patients last year. The new facility has already seen over 30 new patients in the past month.

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