Now in its 27th year, the Lorain County Free Clinic (LCFC) continues to play a significant role in bridging the gap for the medically uninsured seeking access to quality health care.
The main office of the LCFC is located at 3323 Pearl Avenue in Lorain, Ohio in the basement of Christ Lutheran Church, and was originally initiated by a group of local clergy from the Lutheran Co-operative Ministry. Area physicians and community activists joined to help respond to the growing needs of the uninsured, primarily in the city of Lorain during the recessional period of the 1980’s. The Lorain Free Clinic originally began service to the community in March, 1987.
Area hospitals and medical professionals continue to donate time and services, usually on a rotating basis by referral, or after normal office hours. Initially the clinic had one full time employee, Clinic Coordinator, Michelle Wanek.
Since the beginning, the LCFC has embraced the philosophy of providing affordable access to medications to its patients. After obtaining a license to dispense prescription drugs from the Ohio State Pharmacy board in 1986, the LCFC set out to provide brand name samples from its in house pharmacy as part of its overall Prescription Drug Program. It is estimated that the LCFC dispenses over $7800,000 in medications every year from its in house pharmacy, its purchasing program, the Pharmaceutical Patient Assistance Program, the Drug Repository and retail drug chains alone. It is now estimated that an additional $200,000 in drugs will be dispensed in 2008 from the Patient Assistance Program.
In December of 1991, the Board of Trustees hired its first Executive Director, Luke Minnes. On September 1, 1995, Paul Baumgartner was named director, taking over for Dr. Minnes who resigned in June 1995.
In 1994, the LCFC Advisory Board developed its first strategic plan. It was officially adopted in the fall of 1995.
On July 30, 1996, the LCFC opened its first satellite office at Allen Memorial Hospital (Allen Medical Center) at 60 S. Pleasant Street in Oberlin, with the intent of responding to the needs of the uninsured in the southern half of the county. The satellite office operates once a month. On July 8, 1997, the Elyria satellite office opened at the Health Department at 202 Chestnut Street. Office hours are held twice a month. Both offices attracted new medical professional volunteers and patients.
In November 2000, the LCFC formally joined, as a charter member, the Ohio Association of Free Clinics. The OAFC began work on linking other established Free Clinics throughout the state to provide mutual support and to advocate on behalf of the uninsured. In June 2002, the LCFC established its Endowment Fund Program to help eventually offset future operating costs.
In 2005 the Homeless Medical Clinic collaborative began with Catholic Charities on 8th Street in Lorain. Twice per month, Free Clinic staff treats people from the St. Joseph Church Overnight Shelter and the Catholic Charity Family Center (on a walk in basis at this special clinic).
As the Clinic continues its future operations, we want to ensure the quality of the past 27 years will be further developed with the goal to make its services available to all qualified uninsured patients needing care.
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