HANDS Clinic at risk without funding for patient care

HANDS of St. Lucie County, a local, non-profit, free clinic, provides primary healthcare services and access to a continuum of healthcare to qualified, low-income, uninsured, adult residents of St. Lucie County. According to the latest numbers available through the US Census Bureau, more than 65,000 St. Lucie County residents are uninsured. (one-third of the adult population).

These are the working poor of this community; many working part-time jobs in the service or tourism industries without any benefits. They are not looking for a handout, but rather a hand-up.

Because state and federal government officials have decreased the amount of funding coming to free and charitable clinics, HANDS of St. Lucie County is at risk, and the impact is greater than one can imagine. During its four year history, HANDS has had 18,000 patient visits. If those had been visits to an emergency room, rather than to this free clinic, it could have resulted in $99.3 million in uncompensated care at local hospitals. HANDS has contributed to the economy and overall health of St. Lucie County through a possible cost avoidance and by helping to keep health insurance premiums from increasing.

HANDS of St. Lucie County is an affiliate of the nationally recognized Volunteers in Medicine organization and observes a “Culture of Caring” philosophy that recognizes the strength of those in need and is respectful of their dignity. In summary, investments in the health of this communities population can be considered integral to economic development and to promoting the wealth and overall well being of St. Lucie County.
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