PROVIDENCE – The Clinica Esperanza/Hope Clinic received a $40,000 grant from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island to help fund its new walk-in Cheer clinic.
The clinic, located in the Olneyville neighborhood of Providence, aims to improve access to care and lower unnecessary medical expenses for uninsured patients.
The $40,000 grant from Blue Cross will be used to support patients with non-urgent health care needs, providing “an alternative to costly emergency room care,” according to a Clinica Esperanza release.
“Over the past three months, the Cheer clinic has treated over 160 patients, with an estimated savings of $60,000 in out-of-pocket expenses that may have resulted from an ER visit,” Dr. Anne S. De Groot, founder of Clinica Esperanza and Cheer clinic, said in a statement.
“Many of the patients come in with health issues such as sinus problems, stomach pain or arthritis aches, which can be effectively treated without emergency room care,” said De Groot. “It’s important that these patients, who all lack health insurance, know that the Cheer clinic is a viable option for health care services. It is also a place for them to receive preventive care, such as blood pressure and cholesterol screenings, as well as immunizations.”
The Cheer clinic is supported by volunteer efforts of medical and nursing students from Brown University and the University of Rhode Island as well as other health care providers throughout the state.
“Organizations like Clinica Esperanza are essential in providing proactive health care services that improve quality of life and overall health for Rhode Island’s uninsured population. These same services also help reduce emergency room visits and help the uninsured save money,” Bobby Rodriguez, vice president and chief diversity officer for Blue Cross, said in a statement.
Rodriguez cited a recent survey, which showed that 45 percent of Clinica patients would have visited the emergency room if they did not know about the Cheer clinic. “Walk-in clinics for the uninsured are a critical part of Rhode Island’s health care delivery system, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to support Clinica Esperanza in its opening of the Cheer clinic and mission to improve access to care and lower health care costs,” said Rodriguez.
The Cheer clinic, which is not intended to treat patients who might be experiencing more serious health problems such as stroke, broken bones or chest pains, is open Monday through Friday from 2 to 7 p.m. at 60 Valley St. in Providence.