About Amy Umble:
Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star
The poor are indeed with us
As the Bible says, “You will always have the poor among you.” But it seems they are among us in greater numbers now.
One measure of this is the growing number of people who seek care at the Lloyd F. Moss Free Clinic. Drive by early on a Monday or Wednesday morning, and you’ll see people lined up outside the door, some in lawn chairs, hoping to get a screening interview. To be eligible, they must have no health insurance and earn less than 125 percent of the federal poverty level. Still, nearly 2,000 people were treated at the clinic last year and more than half were new patients. Patient visits totaled nearly 10,000, up more than 60 percent in four years.
Karen Dulaney, clinic director, says the increase is because of the poor economy and the growing number of people who do not have health insurance. And those who are treated usually have long-term, chronic health problems.
“They’re very, very sick when they come here,” said Donna Bowser, clinical director. When Bowser came to Moss 12 years ago as its first full-time nurse practitioner, about 25 percent of her patients had diabetes. Today the figure is 66 percent, she said. Heart disease and kidney disease also are common.
The typical patient is a white female, between 36 and 60, from Spotsylvania County, according to the clinic’s annual report for 2009. More than 460 volunteers help keep the place running. All of its funding is from private donations.
The clinic’s web site is here.