A health clinic will provide free medical services to uninsured and underinsured people starting Sunday in Indianapolis.
The four-day event at Lucas Oil Stadium will provide dental services such as root canals, crowns, fillings, extractions and cleanings, as well as eye care such as eyeglass exams. It will also offer medical services such as primary care visits, women’s health, cardiology, dermatology, orthopedics, radiology, cholesterol and diabetes testing, and mental health care.
The clinic will operate 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 18-20.
Services will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis. No identification or insurance information will be required. The goal is to provide health care to Hoosiers regardless of income and insurance status.
The event is organized by Your best path to healtha non-profit organization focused on health and wellness, in partnership with the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
“I think in the United States we have probably the best medical system in the world, but it’s not accessible to everyone,” said Ivan Golubic, CEO of Your Best Pathway to Health. “And it’s never been accessible to everyone and throughout the pandemic, that accessibility to the medical system has become even more difficult due to coercion and capacity.”
Golubic said the clinic aims to fill the gaps by providing a range of much-needed preventive and treatment care.
Dr. Julie Bryson, chief medical officer of Your Best Pathway to Health, said events like these break down some of the many barriers for uninsured and underinsured communities who 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. Health care providers are also all volunteers, from Indiana and other states.
Bryson said one of the biggest obstacles to health care in the United States is the complexity of the health care system. But there are also other obstacles.
“People’s attitude about what they’ve been through in the past can be a real barrier to care [too] because they are maybe a bit disenfranchised,” she said.
The organization has set up eight similar health megaclinics across the country since 2013. Bryson said one of the most common things she hears from patients visiting the free clinics is “What’s the problem?” She responds by saying there’s no catch – people give their time, effort and money to help their communities.
Golubic said he expects the clinic to see nearly 1,000 patients a day and there may be a wait time. He said he expects people to show up a few hours before the clinic starts booking them.
Health insurance coverage affordability crisis
Two out of five Americans are underinsured, meaning their outgoings over the past year, excluding premiums, equal 5-10% of their earnings, according to the Commonwealth Fund. In the first half of 2020, nearly 41 million Americans – 21% – were underinsured.
Nationally, about 12% of Americans do not have any kind of insurance coverage, according to National Health Interview Surveys estimates. In Indiana, about 7% of children and more than 9% of adults are uninsured. Indiana ranks 24th out of 50 states in uninsured rates, 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 dental registration is encouraged. To register for dental care, you can visit this website. Even if you do not pre-register, the clinic will accept walk-in visits unless otherwise advised.
Indianapolis residents can get more information at Best Pathway to Health website or by calling 844-545-8000.
This story comes from a reporting collaboration that includes the Indianapolis Recorder and Public media on side effects – a public health information initiative based at WFYI. Follow Farah on Twitter: @Farah_Yousrym.