As rising costs have placed many Pennsylvanians out of reach of adequate health care, one organization is lending a helping hand by providing services free of charge. Since 2007, the Catholic Charities Free Health Care Center has provided free medical and dental services for thousands of uninsured people in Southwestern Pennsylvania, regardless of race, gender or religion.
Since its opening the center has helped more than 20,000 patients receive medical and dental services during more than 43,000 patient visits. Individuals in the Pittsburgh and surrounding communities who do not have employer-covered health insurance, cannot afford private insurance, do not qualify for Medicare, Medicaid or any other type of government supported assistance and who have an income less than 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines are eligible for services.
The Center’s 190 medical, dental, clinical and non-clinical volunteer professionals help provide a variety of medical and dental services including primary care visits, chronic disease management, health screenings, general teeth cleanings, fillings and extractions, and much more.
The Center is the largest full-time free health care center in Southwestern Pennsylvania. While other Federally Qualified Healthcare Centers (FQHCs) receive significant funding from the federal and state governments, insurance payers and fees for service; as a Volunteer in Medicine (VIM) Model the Catholic Charities Free Health Care Center patients receive services at absolutely no cost to them.
Because patients do not pay for care, the center relies on cash donations, donated supplies and volunteers to operate. Essential program costs are funded through foundations, grants and individual donations.
The free health care center is one of several programs operated by Catholic Charities for the Diocese of Pittsburgh and that fulfills its mission to provide excellent health services to those in need — at no cost. Across Pennsylvania, Catholic charities agencies serve more than 360,000 people of all faiths annually.