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Rhode Island Free Clinic – Luck of the Draw

AARP RI invited Louis Haling, VISTA Revenue Development Coordinator of the Rhode Island Free Clinic to address the State Legislative Council to educate and inform them of the services available at the clinic.

The R.I. Free Clinic at 655 Broad Street in Providence is a fully licensed Outpatient Ambulatory care Facility with 6 modern exam rooms, an opthalmology unit, podiatry suite, 4 counseling rooms, phlebotomy station, licensed pharmacy, and wellness center. Everything a patient could desire, except the demand for the services of the Free Clinic are so high that patients must be accepted by lottery.

The mission of the clinic is to provide high-quality medical care and preventive health services to Rhode Island adults who do not have health insurance or cannot afford to purchase those services, and to serve as an educational site for trainees in health care fields. On the first Thursday of each month, more than 90 people show up for treatment, but only 30 or 40 patients can be accepted. A lottery is held and the lucky holders of the right numbers get to be treated and the others, unfortunately, are turned away.

Care at the clinic is provided by volunteer professionals in partnership with leading hospitals, institutions of higher learning, and community agencies and includes acute and chronic medical care, preventive services, hospital care, health education and a pharmacy. There is a staff of 8 that includes AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers.

Free/low-cost diagnostic testing and specialty services are provided at Lifespan, Rhode Island Hospital, Women and infants Hospital, Rhode Island Medical Imaging, and many others. More than 400 doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, pharmacists, psychologists, physician assistants, interpreters, social workers, medical technicians and non-medical volunteers provide care to all.

Rhode Island adults interested in Rhode Island Free Clinic care must meet eligibility requirements and participate in a monthly New Patient Lottery which starts at 4 pm on the first Thursday of every month.

For more details concerning eligibility contact the Rhode Island Free Clinic at 274.6347.

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