PROVIDENCE – Clinica Esperanza/Hope Clinic has received $50,000 from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island to support their CHEER walk-in clinic, which organizers say serves as an alternative to emergency room visits for uninsured Rhode Islanders.
This is the second year in a row that Blue Cross has provided a grant to the CHEER clinic, located in the city’s Olneyville neighborhood.
“In a recent survey, more than half of our patients who visited the clinic for medical problems said they would have gone to the emergency room for their chief complaint if the CHEER clinic had not been available,” Dr. Anne S. De Groot, one of the physician founders and co-organizer of the clinic, said in a Sept. 9 news release. “We’re grateful for BCBSRI’s support, which helps us increase access to care for a population of Rhode Islanders that is affected by significant health disparities, and at the same time decrease unnecessary ER visits.”
The clinic treats patients with nonemergency health care needs – such as stomach problems, headaches, pain and rashes. The clinic also provides TB testing, flu shots, and testing for diabetes, high-blood pressure and heart disease to walk in patients.
The clinic estimates that in 2012, it helped save the Rhode Island health care system over $120,000 in avoided emergency room costs. This year, the clinic expects to save the system between $200,000 and $350,000 in emergency room costs. •