Final Review: How We Care

When I decided to spend the summer studying non-profit health care, I expected that there would be an abundance of research done by insurance companies and governmental agencies.  Surprisingly, I didn’t find a whole lot.  It turns out that free and non-profit health care is not a major source of literature.  Most of what I learned came from my experience working for We Care.  Through the network, I was able to connect with physicians and local free clinics, gain a deep understanding of the screening process, and examine the local demographics of the North Florida population of uninsured patients seeking non-profit medical care.

The information I was able to find about free and non-profit care providers on a national level was sparse and relatively outdated.  Further studies are definitely needed to examine the details of non-profit care.  There was, however, a clear, public consensus that free and non-profit care is necessary and important to US communities for several reasons.  First, because they make health care an option for low-income, uninsured patients who would otherwise be helpless.  Second, because they take strain off emergency room services by allowing more patients access to preventative medicine and early detection.  Also, they improve community morale and overall health by reducing morbidity and mortality, and providing an outlet for community involvement.

Programs like the We Care Network are actively working to better communities and help those in need.  Many of them are similar in design and function, like the NAFC and the Volunteers in Medicine network.  These programs are vital to the medical community.  Beyond that, they are necessary resources for those who have fallen through the cracks of the health care system.  They give access to basic and specialized medical care to all members of society – regardless of race, socioeconomic status, or prior health status.  It is important for all citizens to have an understanding of how these programs work and why they are necessary, but it is especially important for current and future health care professionals to be aware of what resources are available in their communities, and to understand how best to help.

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