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Free Clinic Reopens!

Free Clinic Reopens! image Free Clinic Reopens! image
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The Free People's Clinic reopened its doors to treat patients on October ] 5. The Clinic is open Monday through Wednesday evenings upstairs at 225 E. Liberty. By sometime in November, we hope to expand our hours of operation to Monday through Thursday. Patiënt registration begins at 6.30. The Clinic would like to take this opportunity to explain to the patiënt community how we are operating and why. We have two primary goals: first, to deliver humane, personalized, FREE medical care as a model of how wc believc the American medical care system should opérate, and second. we have an extensive program of patient-oriented political education which exposes the American Medical Empire for what it is: a multibillion dollar hustle. cynically organized for maximum profits, not for decent health care; as class, race, and sex biased as the other institutions in this society. The Clinic is treating 10-15 patients per night. Past experience on Washington St. taught us that we cannot deliver good health care to everyone who needs it, so we have developed what we feel is a humane screening procedure. Except in cases of emergencies, or cases where a patiënt feels shehe has been abused by another medical facility, we will screen out and refer elsewhere patients who are students(they can use their health service lor ireej, pauenis wnu nave either Medicare or Medicaid (they can use hospitals for free). and patients whose problems can be paid for by health insurance. However. all patients we screen are urged to take full advantage of our VD, birth control, problem pregnancy. gay and sexuality counseling services, and our political education resources. Patients we refcr to one of the hospitals are urged to go in the company of one of our trained Hospital Advocate staff. Hospital Advocates can help them find their way through the mae of the hospitals, obtain decent care. and help resolve any billing problems. Since the Clinic stopped sèeing patients last March. we have been involved in a number of medical-community projects and issues. We worked on the opposition campaign to St. Joseph Mercy Hospital's move. We have instituted the Medical Mediators phone line at 761-5079, which is a service for people who feel they have been abused by local medical fácilities. We have produced two videotapes for Public Access televisión (channel F on your cable), we have regular articles appearing in the Sun and New Morning. and we have built what we feel is a beautiful, comfortable new Clinic at the Liberty St. location. The Free People 's Clinic is organized into nightly collectives sisting of advocate-counselors, hospital advocates, nurses. lab techaicians, medical students, and doctors. The staff collectives form the backbone of the Clinic. Staff committments are to long-term work with their particular collectivc. Low staff turnover. means that everyone learns to know and trust the other collective members so that collectives can work as teams and deliver health care smoothly and efficiently. The collective members trust one another enough to take seriously any suggestions made at nightly post-Clinic criticism sessions. All this means better. more humane, more personalized health care for our patients. It also means that the Clinic is actively combatting the rigid role hierarchy and the elitism that are so lampant in the health care system now. Roles are as loosely defmed as is legally permitted. Staff are encouraged to be trained in any role they want to learn, and to take an active interest in all facets of the Clinic s overall operation. Wherever possible. staff rotate duties. The Free People's Clinic does not see itself as merely a service organization, putting bandaids on the cuts and scrapes that the hospitals won't deal with. A strictly serviceoriented Free Clinic would be nothing more than a relatively hip safety valve for the abysmal failures of the hospitals to serve the needs of our community. The old Clinic, on Washington St. feil into that trap far too often. It even got to the point where the hospitals were rcferring patients to us! All we were doing was making their job a little easier for them, taking the counter-cultural patiënt load off their lily white hands. Any Clinic tliut has the welfare and needs of all patients in mind, must be politically active, and must take political stands. The problems with the health care system are political problems, problems of power, money, and the control oi resources and national priorities. These problems demand a political response. Therefore, The Free People's Clinic is a radical political organization. In everything we do, we try to exposé the horrifying abuses patients are forced to endure when they get health care within the present health care system. ..if they get care at all. A Free Clinic on every corner would not guarantee humane, accessible health care for all citizens regardless of race, sex, age. class. and ability to pay. The entire health care system needs to be revolutionized. The Free People's Clinic sees itself as part of the growing local and national movement for patient-worker controlled, free health care for everyone. Check us out. It'syour health; your lite ï