One in every five Louisiana residents is uninsured. Many working people earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but do not make enough to purchase health insurance or afford healthcare services.
To address this problem, a group of Baton Rouge dentists became interested in providing free, quality health care to the working poor. In the spring of 1998, dentists, physicians, and community members approached the Greater Baton Rouge Parish Dental Association and the East Baton Rouge Parish Medical Society about starting a free clinic in the Baton Rouge area. In trying to ascertain the most expeditious and cost-effective method of delivering the healthcare services, the "virtual" clinic concept was conceived.
Eligible patients are assigned to a volunteer provider and treated in the provider's own private offices. The innovative approach adopted by the Community Clinic circumvented the substantial overhead and start-up costs, while providing an opportunity for physicians and dentist to donate their services during their ordinary workday, using their own staff and own equipment.
The patient is initially assigned to a primary care physician and/or a general dentist. Specialist providers are available if warranted. Participating hospitals, imaging centers and labs provide basic diagnostic tests and individually approved out-patient procedures.
A provider may increase or decrease their commitment at any time. Participating hospitals, imaging centers and labs provide basic diagnostic tests and individually approved out-patient procedures.
The law firm of Breazeale, Sachse and Wilson, LLP, provides pro bono legal support and was instrumental in incorporating the Community Clinic and filing for 501(C)(3) status. Their work in the legislature has culminated in the adoption of a bill that allows limited liability of healthcare providers providing gratuitous services with a free clinic, including a virtual clinic.
The Accounting Firm of Postlethwaite and Netterville provides pro bono fiduciary assistance.