The Clearwater Clinic
Clearwater’s “Friend in Need”
(l-r) Bob Clark, Jeannie Shapiro, Executive Director Clearwater Free Clinic, Doug Hilkert, President Rotary Club of Clearwater
Bob Clark hosted Jeannie Shapiro, Executive Director of the Clearwater Free Clinic at a recent Wednesday noon meeting of the Rotary Club of Clearwater at the Belleair Country Club. Thanks to the generous support of many Rotary club sponsors and anglers, and the hard work by last year’s Kingfish Tournament committee, the Rotary club distributed more than $50,000 to several selected charities. The recipients included the Clearwater Free Clinic. Then, thanks to a Blue Cross-Blue Shield grant, through RI, and other Rotary Clubs, the gift to the Free Clinic grew significantly. Jeannie Shapiro brought the Rotary members up to date on how donations help CFC provide services to those in need. Shapiro has been E.D. of the Free Clinic since April 1998. She moved to Clearwater from Illinois in 1960. She was graduated from Clearwater High School, and went on to attend Tomlinson School of Practical Nursing, St. Petersburg Junior College, and St. Petersburg Junior College School of Nursing. She is also a Leadership Pinellas Graduate 2000 and continues as a member of that organization.
Shapiro said that for 32 years the Clearwater Free Clinic has provided problem oriented health care to qualified low-income uninsured residents of mid and upper Pinellas County, by means of office visits, medications, lab work, x-rays and specialty referrals. The clinic, a volunteer driven non-profit, non-government medical facility, provides primary health care at no cost to those who do not qualify for government assistance and cannot afford private medical care. The majority of the patients at the Clinic are hard working people with limited incomes or low paying jobs. Their income excludes them from receiving government assisted programs yet prohibits their ability to afford private healthcare or insurance. Without the aid of the Clearwater Free Clinic, these uninsured residents would look to our local emergency rooms for non-emergent care at a great cost to themselves and the hospitals. More upsetting is that many of the uninsured will often ignore significant health problems until a crisis occurs not wanting to incur debt. This is where the Clearwater Free Clinic is able to help.
Along with the need for public financial support and volunteers, the Clinic depends heavily on donated services. Local hospitals and radiology groups donate lab work and x-rays and other diagnostic procedures. The Clinic’s on-site medication room struggles to maintain a healthy inventory of donated sample medications, and finds it necessary to supplement the stock with purchases from wholesale drug companies. Donated services for x-rays, lab work, and professional volunteer hours alone totaled over $1,582,000.00 in 2007. This number does not include all of the donated medication or the hundreds of hours donated by non-licensed volunteers. This collaborated effort is what allowed the Clearwater Free Clinic to provide approximately 10,160 patient visits and distribute over 18,371 courses of medication in 2007 to our community’s uninsured residents, on a limited operating budget.
The clinic is located at 707 N. Ft. Harrison Ave in Clearwater.
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