A health clinic will offer medical services free of charge for uninsured and underinsured individuals starting Sunday in Indianapolis.
The four-day event at Lucas Oil Stadium will offer dental care like root canals, crowns, fillings, extractions and cleanings, and eye care such as exams for glasses. It will also offer medical services like primary care visits, women’s health, cardiology, dermatology, orthopedics, radiology, cholesterol and diabetes testing, and mental health care.
The clinic will operate from 10 am to 5 pm on Sunday and 8 am to 5 pm April 18 through April 20.
Services will be on a first-come, first-serve basis. No identification or insurance information will be required. The goal is to provide health care for Hoosiers regardless of income and insurance status.
The event is organized by Your Best Pathway to Health, a nonprofit focused on health and wellness, in partnership with the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
“I think in the US we probably have the best medical system in the world, but it’s not accessible to all,” said Ivan Golubic, CEO of Your Best Pathway to Health. “And it’s never been accessible to all and throughout the pandemic, that accessibility to the medical system has become even harder because of the constraint and capacity.”
Golubic said the clinic aims to fill gaps by offering a range of much-needed preventive and treatment.
Dr. Julie Bryson, chief medical officer of Your Best Pathway to Health, said events like these eliminate some of the many barriers for uninsured and underinsured communities that are disproportionately communities of color. She said the clinic will be staffed with nearly 2,500 volunteers to guide patients through their visits and register them for the services they need. The health care providers are also all volunteers, from Indiana and other states.
Bryson said one of the biggest barriers to healthcare in the US is the complexity of the healthcare system. But there are other hurdles as well.
“People’s attitudes about what they’ve experienced in the past can be a real barrier to care [too] because they may be a little disenfranchised,” she said.
The organization has put together eight similar mega health clinics across the country since 2013. Bryson said one of the most common things she hears from patients who visit the free clinics is “What’s the catch?” She responds by saying there is no catch — people are volunteering their time, effort and money to help their communities.
Golubic said he expects the clinic will see nearly 1,000 patients a day and that there may be a waiting time. He said he expects people will show up a couple hours before the clinic starts to reserve their spot.
Affordability crisis in health insurance coverage
Two out of every five Americans are underinsured, which means that their out-of-pocket costs over the past year, excluding premiums, is equal to 5 to 10 percent of their income, according to the CommonWealth Fund. In the first half of 2020, nearly 41 million of Americans — 21 percent — were underinsured.
Nationwide, roughly 12 percent of Americans do not have any kind of insurance coverage, according to estimates by the National Health Interview Surveys. In Indiana, about 7 percent of children and more than 9 percent of adults are uninsured. Indiana ranks 24th out of 50 states by rates of uninsurance, according to analysis by WalletHub.
According to a report by the RAND Corporation, Indiana’s hospital costs are among the top five in the nation.
No appointment is required for medical or vision services but registration for dental care is encouraged. To register for dental care, you can visit this website. Even if you don’t pre-register, the clinic will accept walk-ins unless otherwise communicated.
Indianapolis residents can obtain more information at Best Pathway to Health’s website or by calling 844-545-8000.
This story comes from a reporting collaboration that includes the Indianapolis Recorder and Side Effects Public Media — a public health news initiative based at WFYI. Follow Farah on Twitter: @Farah_Yousrym.