Supporting Home and Community-based Health Services for Chicago’s Medically Underserved

Success Stories: The (Worthwhile) Extra Cost at a Free Clinic

The Problem

VNA is pleased to support several free or low-cost charitable medical clinics in and around Chicago. These clinics, staffed primarily by volunteer physicians, nurses and other healthcare providers, offer badly needed health services to working poor and impoverished people.

If the clinics are free and the providers are volunteers, why do the clinics need VNA funding?  Time and again, VNA has been able to demonstrate the wonderful enhancement of care that is made possible through the addition of a paid, full-time nurse case manager position at these  clinics. 

The Goal

With a nurse dedicated to basic coordination, oversight and follow-up duties at free clinics, client health outcomes improve.  Absent such a position, even the most dedicated volunteer providers are not able to accomplish as much as they’d like, because patients are often lost to follow-up care, appointments missed, and services duplicated.

The Results

The very purpose of free and low-cost clinics is to offer a better alternative than episodic, irregular, ER-type care. Our outcome data tells us that nurse manager positions go a long way toward helping to fulfill that promise: referral appointments are more likely to be made and completed, test results tracked, and health education goals achieved when the efforts of alternating volunteers are supplemented by the steady presence of a fulltime nurse manager.

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