Virginia’s free and charitable clinics have played a vital role in the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Working towards a Virginia where all people have access to comprehensive, quality healthcare regardless of their ability to pay, free clinics are volunteer-driven, community supported nonprofit organizations that provide no or very low-cost quality healthcare to the state’s uninsured. And the need for healthcare services provided by free clinics has surged with many Virginians losing their jobs and their employer-sponsored health insurance.
This increase in demand, along with the rise in pandemic-related operational costs and the reduction in fundraising opportunities, has placed a new level of financial strain on these essential providers of healthcare services to the state’s uninsured. At a time when the need for accessible healthcare in Virginia has never been more apparent, the state’s free and charitable clinics are launching an awareness campaign to reach out to their communities, the public, and local businesses to drive greater understanding of their services and to encourage additional financial support.
“We’ve set three goals for this campaign. First, we want to make sure that families and individuals across the state who need affordable healthcare, know about and have access to free clinics. Second, free clinics depend on volunteers and the pandemic has made it difficult for many of our traditional volunteers to continue, particularly those in at-risk age groups. Therefore, we have an immediate need for volunteers to help our clinics provide essential care to those who would otherwise go without. And third, our ability to fundraise has been hurt by the pandemic while our operating costs have increased. That means we are in dire need of donations and financial support from businesses and individuals who feel a connection to our mission,” said Rufus Phillips, CEO of the Virginia Association of Free and Charitable Clinics.
The campaign, which launched Nov. 16, includes a dedicated website with information for patients, donors, volunteers, and members of the media. The awareness campaign will largely be driven by digital advertising and supported by public service announcements from media companies across the Commonwealth; but with the help of generous sponsors, it should also include print ads, outdoor, and radio advertising. To learn more, visit FreeClinicsCare.org.