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Charlotte Area News

1,000 To See Doctors For Free At Charlotte One-Day Clinic

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A thousand uninsured people have already signed up for a free visit with a doctor at a one-day clinic set for Tuesday in Charlotte. Dozens of local doctors and nurses have volunteered to see patients starting at 11 a.m. Cars, guns and art are the kind of thing you'd usually find on display at the Charlotte Convention Center, but tomorrow the National Association of Free Clinics will turn the exhibit hall into a massive "doctor's office with 76 exam rooms," says the association's executive director Nicole Lamoreux. She says the clinic will offer testing for diabetes, cholesterol levels and HIV, among others. "But most importantly, we connect every person that comes into our clinic with a place to go for follow-up care," says Lamoreux. Patients will be directed to the free health clinic located close to them, a doctor's office that provides charity care or a federally-qualified health center, says Lamoreux. More than 10,000 people without health insurance have participated in one-day free clinics that have so far been held in seven other cities. Lamoreux says the average patient hasn't seen a doctor in five years and most don't know free healthcare options exist in their communities. All appointments for the Charlotte clinic are already booked, but additional patients will be seen first-come, first-served. Lamoreux says Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is covering the $300,000 tab for the one-day clinic. An estimated 1.6 million North Carolinians are currently without health insurance.