For area residents who don’t have insurance or don’t qualify for governmental aid, finding health care presented a daunting — and often expensive — challenge.
Danville free clinic, now operated by the Aunt Martha’s organization for the past 10 years, offered a welcome alternative.
Before the clinic opened, area residents without the means to receive routine health care would have allow routine programs go untreated until their condition became critical. They would arrive at the emergency room where physicians would have to conduct multiple tests to determine the cause and extent of the patient’s illness, and often have to prescribe extensive procedures to restore the patient’s health.
The situation creates a greater hazard for the patient and passes along greater costs to those providing the care who would have to charge more to others with the ability to pay to make up the difference.
The need for a health clinic such as Aunt Martha’s is obvious. It’s administrators say 40 percent of the residents in the area have no health insurance. During the past three years, they have seen more than 47,000 visits to their clinic on Gilbert Street. The need was great enough that Aunt Martha’s was able to add services for dental care and mental health treatment as well.
The clinic still provides free care to those who qualify, and those who have the ability to pay are charged according to their income.
When people have access to affordable — or even free — health care at a convenient location, they will make use of it. That keeps more people on their jobs, cutting the need for public aid. And it keeps more children in school where they can master their lessons and, hopefully, become successful adults. And it reduces costs for taxpayers and health care providers at the same time.
Clinics such as those overseen by Aunt Martha’s just make sense — for all of us.