BAYBORO, N.C. (WNCT) — A Pamlico County group is asking the community for help.
It needs volunteer health care providers to care for people who don’t have insurance.
COVID-19 forced Hope Clinic to stop in-person visits for months.
“Some of them may try to tough it out, and not go to the emergency room because there will be a bill there,” said Yolanda Cristiani, Executive Director of Hope Clinic. “That starts the avalanche of these issues getting worse and worse.”
The clinic sees patients ages 18 to 64 who don’t qualify for subsidized care.
The clinic restarted in-person appointments in mid-June.
“Now that we’re back to seeing patients face to face…they kind of underestimate how bad they are feeling, or the changes that have been happening,” said Cristiani.
Clinic workers are only seeing five to six patients a week.
Compare that to their old normal, 30 to 40 a week.
Now, they need health care providers like physicians, nurse practitioners, physicians assistants, and pharmacists, who can volunteer their time.
Tele-medicine has been helpful, but face-to-face visits are sometimes essential.
“It has been a silver lining for us to where we think we can still use telemedicine even after things calm down for our practice here in a rural area,” said Cristiani. “It still doesn’t take the place of a provider visit with some patients in need.”
Cristiani says they’re also in need of donations.
The group’s funding comes from donations and grants.
The pandemic forced the move of the clinic’s main annual fundraiser, and it feels $30,000 short of the goal.
For more information on Hope Clinic, and how you can get involved, click here.
To find a free clinic near you, click here.