The National Association of Free Clinics sponsors C.A.R.E. Clinic events throughout the United States. C.A.R.E. Clinics provide opportunities for the uninsured to receive free basic medical care and preventive health services. The Washington C.A.R.E. Clinic took place on April 30, 2011 in the Tacoma Dome. Four medical librarians from the Pacific Northwest Region were on hand to direct patients to reliable sources of online health information. We would like to thank Angela Lee, Ann Gleason and Joanne Rich (University of Washington Health Sciences Libraries, Seattle) as well as Betsy Bartholomew (Multicare Health Systems, Tacoma) for volunteering their time and expertise to support this event.
Angela Lee writes:
By all measures, the WA C.A.R.E. Clinic was a successful event. They attracted over 1400 volunteers and treated nearly 1600 patients in one day, and this was their first time on the West Coast. The event worked like clockwork because it was clearly well-orchestrated given their past experience. The coordinators were able to orient volunteers and shepherd patients through the maze of rooms for screening, testing, treatment and referral.
This was also a first for the University of Washington Health Sciences Librarians in directly serving the uninsured. We were able to reach well over 100 patients during the day-long event including a number of health professionals and volunteers. We were placed in a vendor exhibit area, just outside the treatment pods, located near the exits so that the patients could see us as they were being discharged. We provided health information and referral services throughout the day, doing live searches of MedlinePlus and finding outside resources using the Crisis Clinic website (WA211.org).