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Uninsured In North Texas? It's Your Weekend

Tim Baker
Texas is in a stand-off with the federal government over a program that provides health services for low-income Texas women.

More than 1200 uninsured people have scheduled appointments for Saturday’s Dallas CARE Clinic. Organizers hope that first visit is just the beginning for those without coverage.

Hundreds more are expected to line up and wait for a walk-in slot at the Dallas Convention Center. It’s obvious a lot of people want to be seen by a doctor, but what happens after Saturday’s event? Jody Hopkins with the Lone Star Association of Charitable Clinics says there are about 60 free clinics in the DFW area. That’s the largest concentration of charitable clinics in the state.

“So the goal is really to do sort of that primary care piece, but you never know what you are going to find," Hopkins says. "Some of these patients haven’t been to physicians for a long time, sometimes there are more serious conditions, and we work our best to get those patients hooked into the services they need.”

Saturday, patients will see a doctor, but will then be referred to a clinic in their neighborhood for ongoing care. The goal is to create a medical home for every patient.

“A one day event is only treating that person that day, that time, that hour. But when you get ongoing preventative care, you can really control your health conditions better," she says. "If I’m a diabetic and I can regularly and routinely see a physician, I can control my condition. It’s not going to get worse, I’m not going to end up in the ER.”

So while exams, basic labs and EKGs will be the order of the day this weekend, organizers hope the CARE clinic will simply be an important first step.

Information about receiving ongoing care in your community is at the Lone Star Association of Charitable Clinics site.

Courtney Collins has been working as a broadcast journalist since graduating from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 2004. Before coming to KERA in 2011, Courtney worked as a reporter for NPR member station WAMU in Washington D.C. While there she covered daily news and reported for the station’s weekly news magazine, Metro Connection.