Free clinics are available for those without health care - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Free clinics available for those without health care

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Source: MGN Online Source: MGN Online

According to a new study, a growing number of Americans are skipping needed medical care because they don't have the money. Many of those people don't know about free clinics in their area. 

In Decatur that's the Decatur Morgan Community Free Clinic.  Decatur resident Sherry Herchenhan said she depends on the facility, "I owe my life to this clinic. There's no doubt." 

Herchenhan said a few years ago she started coming to the clinic with some simple aches and pains. Then she started having problems with her legs, "...come to find out I had 4 major blockages in the peripheral arteries."  She went on to say there were other surprises, "...I was having heart attacks at that time and didn't know it."

Thanks to a quick diagnosis, referral to a specialist and quick treatment, Herchenhan is doing better.

Not many people know that a free clinic is available in their area or that they qualify. In order to become a patient here you must be screened, according to Executive Director Jessica Payne.  "We look at the income of the entire household and how many people are living in that entire household." 

Payne said it's very important that if people think they qualify, they should call the clinic, "At the time they call, we will give them the list of all the documentation they will need to bring in."

The clinic serves the under-served of Morgan County, adults age 18 through Medicare age. 

She said on "clinic nights" there are several physicians who volunteer their time. There is also a pharmacy where patients can pick up re-fills. "We do have a rather large patient assistant program for medications. All of our medications are provided for free."

The community free clinic also has some extras that many people don't realize. One of those extras has to do with dental care where they can take a full x-ray.

Payne said they don't have all dental services available, "Our dentists can do extractions and some minor dental work."

The clinic offers a wide range of care, but especially preventive care.

Many communities have similar facilities. If your not sure what's available in your area, from a land line dial 2-1-1, the united way's information and referral service.

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