Donya Currie is the editor of The Free Lance-Star's Healthy Life section and Healthy Life Virginia newsletter.

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A different holiday wish list

Longtime Healthy Living columnist Patrick Neustatter sent me the following email this weekend, hoping I’d share it with you, and I’m happy to:

It’s heartwarming to read about all the people getting exited and prepared for the holiday season. But there are some who can’t afford to shop on ‘Black Friday’, however deep the discounts.   As Medical Director of the Moss Free Clinic, I see a lot of such people – who can’t afford health insurance or health care, let alone computers, cell phones, flat screen TV’s and all the other “stuff” that we read was flying off the shelves yesterday.

I’m not trying to re-write A Christmas Carol, but it interferes with my seasons’ bon vie when I see newly diagnosed diabetics who need close follow-up but can’t get another appointment for six weeks because the clinic is so overwhelmed.  

I recently attended the Virginia Association of Free Clinics annual conference in Williamsburg. I was amazed at the size of the industry that supports the  free clinics around the sate (and incidentally, Moss is one of the bigger and best respected).   Much concern was expressed that everyone will think the Affordable Care Act has solved the problem for such patients, but it is estimated there will still be some 23 million uninsured even when health care reform comes into effect in 2014.   Concern was also expressed that things will get worse in the next two years before implementation.

The message is that, for free clinics to continue to provide the “safety net” they do to the medically indigent, they need volunteers and funds.   Give in a different way this season!   For more information on the Moss Free Clinic, check out its website at


  • MarciaK

    What great information and insight on our ongoing local/regional medical needs from Dr. Patrick Nuestatter in your blog. I will be sending a contribution forthwith. Are there other ways that people can support the Moss Free Clinic such as supplies, volunteering, etc.?

  • Patrick Neustatter

    thanks for your kind words and interest!

    Some supplies are needed. Some volunteers are needed – what’s neede most is doctors/medical providers (so that means Nurse Practitioners, Physicians Assistants as well) and dentists. So next time you’re in, ask your doctor/dentist if they volunteer – and badger them into being a volunteer if they’re not!

    For detailed information of exactly what is needed, call Volunteer Coordinator, Teresa Silver at the Moss clinic at (540) 741 3590