American Muslim Health Conference: Free Clinic Model
The American Muslim Health Conference (AMHC) in 2015 brought together community members working on providing affordable healthcare initiatives to the greater community. In their conference, they covered three different type of models that currently exists to provide affordable healthcare. Details for each model are shared here for others to learn about the models, explore the possibility of implementing in their own community, and for members of AMHC to discuss.
What is the Free Clinic Model?
The Muslim community is fortunate to have standing free health clinics existing across the nation. This model includes building a physical location where surrounding community members can come and receive basic health care at no or minimal cost. These clinics usually exist in communities where the majority of people are underinsured or not insured at all.
What can we learn from this Model?
Almost every health care clinic doesn't just offer health care services, they offer many other health and wellness programs to improve the overall quality of life. For example, providing educational programs, access to a community garden to obtain fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy cooking classes, and so on. Providing these services are essential to having a successful health care clinic and having a long-lasting impact on the community. These are also great programs for any community to adopt, whether or not a clinic is in place.
Why do we Need to Discuss this Model?
The passing of the Affordable Healthcare Act has a huge impact on free clinics. Many believe that such services will no longer be needed. However, there is a segment of the population who still cannot afford healthcare insurance, regardless of how low the rates become. Furthermore, many still would not be able to afford the costs associated with specialty care. Yet, the passing of this act still is starting to cause a lower demand for the services the clinic offers. As a community, we need to work together to identify how this model can be refined to work with the changing environment of health care as we know it.