Free Clinic welcomed over 90 new patients during pandemic

Published: Jul. 1, 2020 at 4:59 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — Millions of Americans lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, causing many to lose their health insurance coverage as well.

The Free Clinic in Harrisonburg offers affordable health care services to low income and uninsured adults, and over the past few months, they’ve helped many new patients who were impacted by coronavirus.

Leon Malca, the clinic’s director of operations, said they transformed how their team operated to take on the low income and uninsured population walking through their doors.

“We knew we were going to receive an increase. We received calls from every industry you can think of, from car dealerships and restaurants and many more, but for example, in the last 45 days we’ve added 45 new patients,” Malca said.

Of the 390 patients the Free Clinic provides care for, 90 of those were added during the pandemic.

“It hasn’t been a struggle, it’s been a blessing because we want to help these people, we want to help the community, but on the other side we don’t want our other patients to be affected by this,” Malca said. “We’ve added special clinics just for new people... On Tuesdays, we will only see new people and patients.”

He said the Free Clinic expects they’ll be caring for 550 to 600 patients by the end of the year.

“We have remained with the same [number] of staff that we currently have. Unfortunately, we have some volunteers that can’t help during this time, but some other volunteers stepped up... We’ve just been working extra hard,” Malca said.

To reduce congestion in the waiting area of the Free Clinic, Malca said patients were given a 90-day supply of prescriptions, and appointments are spaced out and telehealth appointments were encouraged.

For more information on the Free Clinic, click here.

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