Health Team

'Uninsured Week' Features Free Clinics

Posted April 24, 2007 2:20 p.m. EDT

— Sixty-nine free clinics across North Carolina will stay open late Tuesday as part of national "Cover the Uninsured" week.

Clinics in rural and urban communities, including Raleigh's Urban Ministries Open Door Clinic at 1390 Capital Blvd., will remain open until 8 p.m. to provide medical, dental and pharmacy services to the uninsured and other vulnerable populations.

About 1.3 million people in North Carolina lack health insurance. With the help of volunteers, donations and partnerships with other health care providers, free clinics in the state delivered more than $66 million worth of health care free of charge in 2005.

"The folks that are coming to the free clinics are folks that are sitting in the pews in your churches. They're folks who are standing in line with you in the grocery stores. They're the folks that you wave to across the streets in your neighborhoods," said Mike Darrow, executive director of the North Carolina Association of Free Clinics.

North Carolina has the largest association of free clinics in the nation. The NCAFC is supported by partnerships with the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation and the North Carolina Medical Society Foundation.