Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Caring for Those Who Can't Pay

We all know that access to health care is far from guaranteed in this country.  While emergency rooms won't usually turn away an uninsured person with an immediate need, our health care systems could save a lot of money AND people would be healthier if they didn't have to wait for an emergency to get medical care.  At the same time, the number of Americans who have health insurance continues to fall, in part because so many employers are choosing not to offer health insurance as part of employee benefits.  Even those who have insurance often struggle to meet deductibles and put off getting medical attention for fear of racking up significant out-of-pocket costs.

Meanwhile, the economics of providing medical care become increasingly complex, and doctors are having to make tough choices about what kind of care to provide to which patients. Programs that fund care for the poor and elderly are placing tighter limits and controls on what they reimburse, and requirements for malpractice insurance and new technologies create new expenses for medical practices.  It sometimes seems like the only ones benefiting from the system are the insurance companies.

Despite all that, a number of local doctors are doing something remarkable here in Youngstown: they're providing free care to people who need it.  Through the Midlothian Free Health Clinic, Dr. Thomas Albani and his colleagues are providing both basic and specialized care, much of it made possible entirely because medical professionals donate their time.  You can hear all about in this week's interview, and you can help ensure that the clinic continues to operate.  Call the clinic at 330.788.3330 to find out about how to donate and how to participate in their next fundraiser.

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