Iowa City Free Medical and Dental Clinic says thank you

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As my term as chairman of the board of directors of the Iowa City Free Medical and Dental Clinic concludes, I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to the many members of the community and surrounding area for the ways you have supported us in our mission: “to provide quality, comprehensive health care services for the uninsured and underinsured in Johnson County and surrounding areas.”

The clinic is made up of many people who allow us to have an impact on the community, and we are proud of the work that our staff and volunteers have accomplished. There are, of course, paid staff — led by Executive Director Barbara Vinograde and Medical Director Dr. Cecilia Norris — who are invaluable to our mission. But we also have over 250 volunteers from a multitude of disciplines, including medicine, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, public health and many others. We see people who speak many languages and we have numerous volunteers who serve as interpreters for us.

This past year has been one of numerous milestones for the clinic. Here are a few examples of what we have been able to accomplish, thanks to our staff, our volunteers, and thanks to your support. In the past 12 months, during over 5,000 clinic visits, we have provided medical and dental care to over 1,700 individuals. Patients have received medications, labs, radiology procedures, specialty care (including gynecology, ophthalmology, physical therapy and dermatology) and case management. Dental patients have received exams, X-rays, treatment plans, fillings, extractions and hygiene.

This past year, the clinic has added diabetes prevention services and dental services for children. Through grant funding, the clinic has been able to provide insulin and diabetic supplies to more people who otherwise would go without. In addition to Monday through Friday clinics, FMC holds additional Saturday specialty care clinics. We are grateful that we have been able to provide these services to the members of our community.

Obviously, much is changing in the world of health care. The future of the Affordable Care Act and health care reform are ambiguous. However, regardless of what happens with the ACA, and health care generally, the free clinic will continue to serve those in need of health care who cannot otherwise afford it.

• John S. Westefeld is chairman, board of directors, Iowa City Free Medical and Dental Clinic

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