‘Our patients pay nothing:’ Jacksonville clinic offering free health care to working class

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Going to the doctor isn’t always cheap, and if you don’t have health insurance it could be a hefty bill. With insurance rates increasing, even if you are covered, it might not fit your budget.

In an effort to provide health care access to those struggling to make ends meet, a new health care clinic is working to lift the burden off families.


“I just kind of wanted to come, take a look for myself, and see what they offered,” Kevin McKinney said.

He was the first patient to step through the doors, Wednesday, a the new Volunteers in Medicine clinic in San Marco. McKinney is an independent contractor, and doesn’t have access to affordable health care.

“They don’t offer insurance to most 1099 employees,” he said.

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The free health care is made possible through the clinic’s hundreds of volunteers. There are close to 250 each month, assisting with patient care—many are nurses or health care professionals who donate their time.

“A lot of the things we see here are undiagnosed diabetes, hypertension and asthma,” CEO Jennifer Ryan said. “We hear things like you saved my life. You changed my life.”

The clinic was previously located in downtown Jacksonville, but when the property was sold board members began looking for a new facility.

“We have 3,000 more square feet. We have more exam rooms,” Ryan said. “We have more room for 1:1 education and mental counseling. So we’re very very excited.”

The new facility also reduces the commute for most patients.

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“More people should hear about Volunteers in Medicine—the great things that they’re doing,” McKinney said “I’m sure that they’ve helped me and my friends, and a lot of people who I work with.”

You must meet these requirements to qualify for care:

  • Working at least 20 hours/week
  • Making between $13,000 and $34,000
  • Proof of employment: two months of pay stubs

If you qualify, your family members likely will too. The facility caters to those 18 to 64 years in age.

To apply, you can go to www.Vimjax.org

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