Written by Amy Andrews
Matthews Free Medical Clinic has been providing free, quality healthcare to low income, uninsured patients since 2004. They pride themselves on being a medical home for their patients, offering holistic care and treating every patient with dignity and respect.
Prospective patients apply to be part of the clinic and are then assigned a primary care physician, as well as gaining access to a range of specialists from cardiology and pulmonology to chiropractic and orthopedic services. Executive Director Amy Carr emphasized that although the clinic is physically located in Matthews, it serves patients living in all of Mecklenburg and Union Counties.
Part of Matthews Free Medical Clinic’s key to success is to look at the whole patient. Each aspect of a patient’s life impacts their health and nurses, providers, case managers and front desk staff all collaborate to gain a clear picture of what is going on with each client.
Matthews Free Medical Clinic serves over 400 patients, resulting in thousands of visits each year and does not receive any county, state or federal funding. They operate through community partnerships such as Novant Health Community Connect, grants and private donations.
“One thing I hear over and over again is that this doesn’t feel like a free clinic,” said Carr. “We’re more than happy to hear that. Our patients feel seen and understood and our selection as a top performer from the North Carolina association of free and charitable clinics for our patient outcomes for the past four years is a testament to that.” She would also like to acknowledge the over 30 volunteer providers who serve Matthews Free Clinic, enabling its depth and breadth of services.
As with most every non-profit, Matthews Free Clinic is facing operating challenges due to COVID-19 and the current environment. They resumed seeing patients as needed in person this week, but are encouraging telemedicine appointments for patient comfort and to preserve their dwindling PPE supplies.
Matthews Free Clinic has had to cancel their annual golf tournament which accounts for a significant portion of their annual fundraising efforts, while facing a doubling in their medical supply costs and scarcity of much needed items such as masks and gloves.
Monetary donations to purchase healthcare supplies are their most pressing need. A donation of $30 would buy a blood pressure cuff for a patient to monitor their blood pressure at home instead of having to come into the office. A donation of $150 would purchase an infrared thermometer to insure all coming through the door are healthy. They are also down to a four to six-week supply of disinfecting wipes and are in need of N95 mask donations for patient-facing staff.
“We are applying for emergency funds and are so appreciative of the community which has always been extremely supportive of us,” added Carr. “As stimulus checks run out and people deal with job loss, we expect to see about a 30% increase in applications. We want clients to know we are here and are accepting applications through online and phone interviews to make it as seamless and safe as possible to become a patient.”
DID YOU KNOW: Matthews Free Medical Clinic is in the running to win $5K this month thanks to the Amy and Brian France Foundation who have partnered with SHARE Charlotte for this year’s Spotlight Series and YOU can help when you VOTE NOW! You can also check out the other organizations eligible to win this month’s prize, here!