Opening a Free Clinic for People without Health Insurance

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There are lots of people in the community that cannot afford the high cost of health insurance due to the economic crisis and lack of employment. This does not in any case mean that they do not require proper medical care and, therefore, as an organized effort it should be mandatory that all members of the community have access to health care. This can be done through opening up a free clinic with the help of the community and other interested stakeholders. The free clinic will ensure that the community stays healthy and at the same time the organization gains from getting a healthy labor force. It will also ensure that the company is deemed to have a corporate sense of responsibility. Setting up a free clinic is a challenging and engaging project for the organization to undertake. Therefore, the organization should ensure that it has all the facts and structured framework that it will use before opening a free clinic. This paper looks at the economic situation; a needs assessment, the process to be used, and the benefits of the program. Opening a free clinic for people without insurance is a challenging process, and an organization should look at all the factors before opening to ensure that the clinic is run efficiently.

SPECIAL NEEDS ASSESSMENT

Before starting to make any form of plans, it is important to make a need assessment of the people in the community where the clinic is to be opened. According to Brennan (2013), “in order to substantively engage the most severely and most medically underserved individuals in our communities, providers must offer empathetic, patient-centered psychiatric reach-out.” The organization should have enough understanding of what they are likely to expect among the people they seek to provide care. It is also important if the organization needs any extra help as they can be able to identify the specific areas that need the help. The first step in making a need assessment is collecting data on the uninsured. The data can be collected by contacting the local health department, the social health departments and the social service providers and from other organizations that have set up free clinics in the region. The internet also acts as a reliable resource as well as the articles and newspapers about the lack of proper healthcare in the region and other areas. The data helps in getting an estimate on the number of people that the program should target and their needs in general. Brennan (2013) asserts that, “While conducting the needs assessment, it’s also paramount that the organization assesses the level of income of the target group and how it compares with other people living in the community.” A comparison of the income and insurance status of the target population needs to be made, and a comparison between the levels of the city and other areas done.

ECONOMIC SITUATION

The economic situation is also very critical in opening a clinic since it is what ensures that everything is performed and conducted according to plan. When doing an economic assessment the first aspect to consider is where the uninsured are getting their services in the meantime. Understanding the situation of the people one hopes to help is crucial before making any investment to calculate the number of people one needs to help, and the resources required. The services being offered by other agencies in the area and the gaps that exist help the organization understand the economic situation and what needs to be aIDed (Brennan, 2013). The second aspect that is also as crucial is the budgeting, funding and bookkeeping for the clinic. Under economic situation, the budget is an important factor, and it incorporates making an estimate of the money that is required to open a clinic. Lieu & Zha (2014) emphasize the importance of assessing whether there is a need for any outside help in the process of making the estimates of the money required to ensure that the program is completed. A projection of the estimated number of people and costs is an integral part and professionals and members of the board responsible with building the clinic should be involved to make a comprehensive budget. After assessing the economic situation, the organization can start on the process of opening up a clinic.

PROCESS INVOLVED IN THE PROGRAM

Depending on the size and the target population the process can either take a lot of time or only a few days. The first step is setting up a steering committee to spearhead all the operations and decision making with regards to the clinic (McConnel, 2011). According to Guzys & Petrie (2013), the organization may choose to look at the determinants of health and assess the community against them. A systematic analysis can be used to identify the problems, needs, strengths and trends in that community, in order to aIDress them appropriately. The committee should oversee the running of the project and make the necessary plans and structures for efficient and effective running of the project. The legal requirements for insurance and health care should also be assessed and adhered to, therefore, drafting and understanding the rules is pivotal (Brennan, 2013). Consulting a professional who is well-versed with health insurance is compulsory in implementing the program to help in adhering to the legal terms of the project. Building community support for the program should also be done to ensure a smooth flow of operations and to reach out better to the target population. In aIDition, determining the services that will be rendered depending on the needs assessment as well as the mission statement should also be structured and well drafted (Sines, Saunders, & Burford, 2013). The research culture has also been improved, with the need to change clinical practice from the ritualistic to evidence-based practice. This acts as the foundation and structured approach of what the company aims to achieve with the project. The space and staffing process for the hospital should also be done. The clinic should also obtain proper credentials and quality assurance before starting its operations.

BENEFITS OF THE PROGRAM

One of the major benefits of the program is ensuring that every member of the community gets essential medical attention. Brennan (2013) asserts that, health care provisions to all is a major benefit and reason of setting up the program. The program also improves the livelihoods of members of the society by ensuring that they are healthy; therefore, they can be able to work. The program is also beneficial to the company since it is a way to ensure that the company adheres to corporate social responsibility thereby creating a good image for the organization. Creating a good environment and favor with the community members is an essential part of every company. Brennan (2013), asserts that, a free medical clinic is one of the main ways that a company can create to be seen as socially responsible. It helps creates a good relationship with the community and health practitioners, as well as reconnecting and bringing recovery to the underserved communities. The program also helps employees of the company in accessing free medical services and can help the company in organizing better medical care for employees and their beneficiaries.

In conclusion, opening up a free clinic can be challenging, but very beneficial to the community or society. The organization should involve community members who are willing and able to work as volunteers in the program and ensure that the program is run efficiently to help the people. It is difficult for members of the community to set up such initiatives on their own, and the organization should offer a hand to ensure equity in healthcare provision in the community where it is located.

References

Brennan, V. (2013). Free clinics: local responses to health care needs. Baltimore: JHU Press.

Guzys, D. & Petrie, E. (2013). An introduction to community and primary health care.

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Mcconnel, C. (2011). A free clinic paradox. Archives of Internal Medicine, 171(8), 788-789. Retrieved from http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=487026

Lieu, Z. & Zha, M. (2014). Student-run free clinics around the world. Raleigh, NC: Lulu Press, Inc.

Sines, D., Saunders, M. & Burford, J. (2013). Community health care nursing. Hoboken, NJ: John Willey & Sons.

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