|Dr. Michael Kloess and a visitor to Our Lady of Hope Clinic|
While BadgerCare, Medicaid and other government programs offer coverage for many in poverty, hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites fall through the cracks. These uninsured patients usually include the "working poor"--men and women who have jobs that provide too much income to be eligible for government assistance, but don't offer health coverage or a high enough salary to purchase individual coverage. In fact, about three out of every four uninsured people are employed.
Five years ago, those patients had few options when it came to having their basic health care needs met. But since opening in the spring of 2009, Our Lady of Hope Clinic has provided more than 3,000 free clinic visits to patients without health insurance--free of charge.
In offering health care access to those who can't afford it, OLHC helps prevent those in need from falling into even more desperate situations:
Uninsured residents who have slipped through the cracks often end up in the emergency room for routine ailments like ear infections. And without access to basic health care, manageable conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol often go untreated until they turn into serious problems that result in preventable emergency room visits or hospital stays. Already struggling families end up facing mountains of debt that could be avoided.
That's because OLHC serves more than just the poor. The clinic is funded primarily through benefactors, who, for a fixed annual (or monthly) contribution are eligible to receive their primary care for the clinic. That level of contribution varies by age, the average is $1,200 a year, with steep discounts for families and clergy.
In supporting the clinic, benefactors receive unparalleled health care, including:
•Direct access to a personal primary care doctor, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week
•Extended appointment times of at least 30 minutes, every time
•Same-day or next day scheduling
•Unlimited care - Benefactors may see their physician as often as necessary without incurring additional charges
If you're wondering how $100 a month gets you around-the-clock access to a personal doctor who will give you half hour appointments (compared to a national primary care average of five to seven minutes), the answer is found in the clinic's low overhead. Our Lady of Hope Clinic doesn't accept any private or government insurance. By avoiding both insurance and billing, the clinic also avoids burdensome government reporting requirements.
As a result, there's no need to retain staff to handle billing, insurance claims, reporting, scheduling and many other minutiae responsible for driving up the costs of health care. The money saved by the clinic's low overhead is used to fund the free care for uninsured patients--who comprise the vast majority of those treated at our Lady of Hope Clinic.
OLHC is only the second clinic of its kind in the United States. At a time when a hostile administration seems intent on eliminating every last vestige of Catholic influence in health care, Our Lady of Hope Clinic stands out as a light in the darkness.
So will you join me in helping them? Click here to make an online donation (or for information on donating via mail). Be generous.
Finally, keep Dr. Kloess, his family and Our Lady of Hope Clinic in your prayers.