The Free Clinic
The Clinic began seeing patients in September 1999. It provides medical services for the uninsured and underinsured who have acute health needs. The Clinic meets on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at the First Christian Church located at 205 N 7th Street in Estherville, IA. Check-in is between 6:30 and 7:00 pm. There are no appointments. While the Clinic is located in Estherville, it provides services to anyone who has need. For more information stop by the Clinic or call 712-209-1213.
Since April 1999 the Clinic has been a part of Upper Des Moines Opportunity, Inc. (UDMO), a Community Action Agency located in Graettinger, IA. It is through UDMO that the Clinic is able to function as a 501(c)(3) agency.
The Clinic staff is 100% volunteer. The volunteers currently include a nurse practitioner, four doctors, a staff of nurses, a translator, and a number of non-medical personnel. It is governed by a 13 member Advisory Board, all of whom are volunteers and on which the UDMO Executive Director serves as an ex-officio member.
The free services provided include the office visit as well as the cost of prescriptions less a $15.00 co-pay for those who can afford such. If tests or x-rays are ordered, those are done at Avera Holy Family Hospital in Estherville. Those costs are also covered by The Clinic. It is able to do so because Avera Holy Family significantly discounts them. To date the Clinic has registered over 1,800 patient visits.
Much of the Clinic's funding comes from State monies that have been secured through the work of the Iowa Primary Care Association. At various times in its history, the Clinic has received financial support from UDMO through the Community Service Block Grant funds it administers. It also accepts contributions, which are tax deductible.
The Clinic is an Associate Member of the Free Clinics of Iowa. Also, it is a participating member of the Volunteer Health Care Provider Program, which is administered by the Iowa Department of Public Health.
The Clinic is a wonderful example of what can happen when a community comes together in support of a particular need. The volunteers, Avera Holy Family, the local pharmacies, UDMO are the ones who make it happen month after month, year after year. While the future is not in our hands, it is the hope of the Clinic that it will be able to provide health care services to the uninsured and underinsured as long as there is need.