For 20 years, the Ellsworth Free Clinic has provided vital medical treatment for the uninsured-at no charge.
“There is quite, quite a demand. You have a lot of people that have no income, have no way of paying for insurance,” said Jean Lyons, who works at the front desk.
Linda Grindle, who runs the clinic, says they receive about six to ten new patients a week-and run on a tight budget.
They receive no subsidies from the state.
We are funded totally on grants and donations. Our patients give, and i accept two dollars if that’s all they have as graciously as I would a thousand dollar check,” said Grindle.
As recently as last month, though, it looked like the clinic would have to close its doors.
“We were without funding and the rent has to be paid here and all our other expenses and insurances, and we just were running out of money,” said Grindle.
But at the eleventh hour, two $10,000 donations came in–and now they’ll remain open.
Staff members say without this clinic, many patients would have nowhere to go.
“We have people that come in that just need a physical, maybe some blood work, and then we have other people that come in that are very ill,” said Grindle.
“We see lots of diabetics and their blood sugar is out of control. We see people with blood pressures that are out of control. We see chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,” said Susan Hughes, a nurse at the clinic.
They’re able to treat all these conditions thanks to a generous staff…doctors, nurses, receptionists…all volunteers.
“I retired from where I had been working for 30 years and decided I wanted to have something to do and Linda needed some help so I said okay, I’m coming,” said Lyons.
And patients don’t take the free service lightly.
“Sometimes people actually start crying. They say thank you, thank you, thank you. They’re so grateful,” said Hughes.