Letter: Free clinic adapting to patients’ needs
It seems unusual to both compliment the work done by the Gloucester-Mathews Free Clinic and simultaneously suggest that the Free Clinic has either foolishly or blindly set forth on a course toward unnecessary expansion. As a board member, I can verify that the same organization that has been doing that good work Mr. Hicks complimented ("Isn’t Obamacare supposed to cover this?," Nov. 29 Readers Write) has exhaustively done their due diligence on the landscape and needs of our community in a post-Obamacare world.
Since its inception, the free clinic has been proactive in adapting to meet the needs of an ever-growing number of patients. The clinic created a chronic care arm to help the large number of patients with chronic health issues. Dental services have been greatly expanded and will be significantly increased in the new facility.
It is also pertinent to note that many patients seen currently at the free clinic are being bridged to Medicaid after the loss of employment. As the Medicaid population grows, many will need just such transitional care. These are a few of the examples of growth areas for the clinic in the years ahead.
I can only assume and hope that Mr. Hicks was primarily making a political point. In any case, as a concerned citizen in the community, I would strongly encourage Mr. Hicks to tour both the old facility and the new one and to get more information on the clinic’s campaign, as it certainly would answer the question, "Why?" Perhaps he will even join in the large group of dedicated volunteers, supporters and patients who care so deeply for the free clinic and its mission.
Frank West III, M.D.
Gloucester-Mathews Free Clinic
Board member and volunteer physician