A free clinic begins where there is a community of mission-driven, compassionate leaders with a desire to help the uninsured. There are several key factors that must be identified before you consider opening a free clinic:
Needs Assessment: Does the community need a free clinic? Are there other resources in place – Federal or State Health Centers, Health Departments, others – that already serve the uninsured?
Community Support: Will the community support the clinic – will they volunteer their time, donate their money, advocate for the clinic?
A “Champion”: Almost all successful free clinics have a clinic “Champion”, someone who is passionate about serving the uninsured. Typically, this person is a medical provider – but it doesn’t have to be.
Hospital Support: Additionally, successful free clinics have the active support of their local hospitals, including serving on the clinic Board, providing in-kind lab work and other services, encouraging medical providers to volunteer, and providing financial support.
A Diverse, Active Board: Successful clinics have Boards that represent a cross-section of the community, and are active Boards – they volunteer, participate, and donate – 100%.
If these pieces are in place — or well into development — and you would like to take the next step, let us know! We can connect you to an established clinic for peer support.
If you are interested in learning more about starting a free or charitable clinic in Illinois, please feel free to check out the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinic’s (NAFC) webpage to Start a Clinic. Visit here
The NAFC can help provide you with legal and operational resources with education on starting a clinic, as well as connect you with their partners who provide consulting on starting specific types of free or charitable clinics.
The NAFC can also provide you with direct one-on-one guidance on starting a free clinic using their Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) Program. For more information on the NAFC’s program, please visit the NAFC website