Stories of Impact: Vanessa's
Following the expansion of Medicaid in Virginia, some free clinics adapted to serve both Medicaid recipients and the uninsured.
Vanessa was in dire straits when a cancer diagnosis leveled her – appendiceal carcinoma, a rare but treatable form. As an uninsured diabetic, she had been successfully managing her chronic disease with care provided by her local free clinic. However, now, Vanessa and her healthcare providers at the free clinic were struggling to get her the oncology care she needed due to her lack of coverage. It was a life and death situation.
Beginning in January 2019, Vanessa became eligible for expanded Medicaid in Virginia. Enrollment specialists at the free clinic got her enrolled and connected to a health plan which made all the difference – giving her access to the critical treatments she needed to save her life. Vanessa is currently on the road to recovery while also managing her chronic health conditions, thanks to expanded Medicaid coverage and her free clinic. As a hybrid clinic, serving both uninsured patients and Medicaid recipients, Vanessa's free clinic can continue to serve as her medical home.
The expansion of Medicaid has resulted in more healthcare for more people, and the positive impact on the overall health of Virginia's citizens will be profound. Virginia's network of free and charitable clinics are proud partners and advocates in this important effort to increase access to healthcare. While clinics continue to serve as a safety net for those who continue to lack health insurance (upwards of 300,000 Virginians), some clinics have become hybrids – providing care to Medicaid-enrolled patients while continuing to serve uninsured patients within certain income levels.