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Free People's Clinic

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The Ann Arbor Free People's Clinic was established n an attempt to deal with the inadequacies and nequities n the present health care system n Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County. The Free Clinic realizes that t can in no way meet all the demands for adequate health care from the people in this town and county whose needs are presently not being met by the established medical facilities. However, by serving as a model of the direction we believe health care delivery should be moving in; and, by actively participating n the creation of systems, Rrograms, and facilities in this community whereby people's health needs can be met; the Free Clinic will be involved in insuring that accessible, adequate, compassionate curative and preventve health care is the right of every person regardless of age, sex, race, geographic location, andor income. While our tactics and strategies for making changes will take different forms at different times, and while we are working toward both short and long range goals, there are several issues that remain constant in our struggle. We believe that health care is a human right, not a privilege based on income or anything else; we believe that the focus of health care should be on caring about people, not just treatng their diseases. We believe that many diseases of the body have causes which go very much beyond the realm of physiology-that health problems all too often arise from what are basically not only psychological but sociological conditions, and ultimately political [economie- Ed.] conditions- conditions which we must therefore address ourselves to changing. We believe that an emphasis on health education (including the demystification of medicine) and preventive medicine must be nstated into the health system and in the community as a number one priority in working toward a healthier community; and we believe that there must be a strong emphasis placed on increasing and expanding roles of "non-credential" health workers in health care. We are also aware that for any program, system, or facility to be assured of responsiveness to the community it serves. representaties from that community (elected by and from that total community) must not only have input nto the creation and operation of such programs, systems and facilities, but must also have more than token decision-making power in the control of said programs and facilities. We know that community, or communityworker control of institutions is not a magie answer to all health care problems, and in fact, that there are many problems with communityworker control; however, we believe t is a correct step in the direction of self-determination for all people ' and in the creation of a health care system that will be responsive to the needs of all people. We believe an important goal is the phasing out of outpatient departments (in hospitals) and the establishment of a network of accessible communityworker controlled neighborhood health centers. Until such time as this can be implemented, we believe priorities for spenditure of monies by hospitals, committees, councils, and boards should be n the direction of establishing programs and systems which will meet many of the presently unmet health needs. We see our goal as a Free Clinic not to be the survival and growth of this Free Clinic, but to be the assural of decent health care for everyone, whether delivered through free clinics, neighborhood health centers, hospitals, or large medical complexes. The Free Clinic plans on taking as active a role in influencing the selection of priorities, and the direction of changes in the health care delivery system in our community. In the meantime, the Free Clinic will also be attempting to crĂ©ate a model of health care delivery during its clinic hours, utilizing and implementing those aforementioned philosophies and beliefs. This model of health care will not function as a teaching facility for medical professionals, but rather as a learning experience for all health workers and patients. In this process of what can be mutual education and health education, patients can learn about their bodies and health care, patients and staff can come to a better understanding of the possible causes for the unresponsiveness of the traditional medical facilities, and patients and staff can together formĂșlate possible ways of altering those traditional systems. It s essential that all the time this model of health care is being worked on in the Free Clinic facilities, the Free Clinic remain active in advocating for the creation of responsive programs, systems, and facilities in the health care delivery system. Too often corrective measures and new programs are not mplemented and instituted for the specific reason that "further study" is needed in planning for solutions to the problems Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County are facing regarding unmet health needs. Our analysis of the crisis in the health care system in Ann Arbor shows that further study of many of the problems, without taking immediate action to correct these problems, will be gross neglect on the part of public officials, medical professionals, and administrators. We welcome and urge everyone to join us in the struggle toward making this a healthier community for all. Free People's Clinic Coordinating Committee- Landis Crockett Linda Stroud John Rolland Craig Rosey Lenore Kaplan Michael Castleman Mike Reiter Betty Erikson Julie Dodge John Collins Nancy Lessin