Tag Archives: Doctors of the World

Doctors of the World opens free health clinic in the Rockaways


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Doctors of the World

Doctors of the World has officially opened its doors, and the Rockaways have a new, free health clinic during a time some have called a “health crisis in the borough.”

This is the first and only location in the country for Doctors of the World, which offers services in 79 other countries. Set at 2-30 Beach 102nd Street, it provides free primary medical services.

“We’ve had an overwhelming response so far,” said Dr. Amber Featherstone, medical director at the new clinic.

Featherstone previously worked overseas in Africa with Doctors Without Borders, and is excited to continue work with an international organization. She said she sees some parallels with patients stateside and those abroad.

“Patients don’t have access to good care,” she said. “They wait until they’re really sick to get care, or they care for themselves as best they can, but they are not able to fully fund the medication they need. The problems become more complicated because of that.”

Featherstone hopes that she and her team can get patients “some kind of medical insurance coverage, or help them get more stabilized in care,” she said, and be available to the people who aren’t getting the “continuous care they need.”

Currently, the Rockaway office, aside from Featherstone, has a clinic manager and a nurse manager. They are looking for volunteers, including medical providers, nurse practitioners, nursing staff, medical assistants and anybody who can perform administrative services.

“Especially people who are local and want to give something back,” Featherstone said.

As of now, operating hours are Thursdays from noon to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., but Featherstone expects those days and hours to increase if they maintain the current customer volume. They are already booked solid for the next two weeks.

The majority of their clientele, Featherstone said, are patients needing a full, physical exam. “People who have been out of care, trying to hold it together for medical coverage,” she said.

A handful of patients prior to visiting Doctors of the World were paying out of pocket for things such as diabetes medicine. Now, Doctors is trying to establish partnerships with medical providers so as to ease the cost for patients.

The group has already formed a partnership with St. John’s Episcopal Hospital for lower radiology rates, as well as Rite Aid for Medicaid rates.

However, for the first month of care, Doctors of the World is able to cover medication cost, but they “don’t have the funding to continue to cover long-term,” Featherstone said. They are hoping to get more funding for “that particular cost in the near future.”

 

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Doctors of the World to open free clinic in the Rockaways


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Doctors of the World,

Doctors of the World are coming local – to the Rockaways, intending to boost the area’s health care.

The international network of doctors has 14 locations worldwide which combined work in 79 countries and recently signed a lease to open a free primary health care clinic at 2-30 Beach 102nd Street, making the Rockaways the only U.S. site.

“The Rockaways have a severe shortage of health care services available to them,” said Noah Barth, program coordinator. “[It also has] a long history of being excluded or not given enough attention from city and state resources.”

At the clinic, Doctors of the World will provide free service to the public, including the uninsured, thanks to a reliable donation foundation.

“Health care is a fundamental right,” Barth said. “We see our work as filling a gap.”

St. John’s Episcopal has been the lone hospital left on the peninsula since the closing of Peninsula Hospital in April 2012. The community at large has voiced the need for more health care facilities.

At St. John’s, the emergency room at times has gotten overrun with patients, but “on the whole we have been doing okay,” said hospital officials. Post-Sandy complications and the summer’s heat wave have brought in patients with lung issues, including asthma and COPD.

In the Rockaways, the high concentration of seniors and public housing facilities creates a high need for services that the community is not getting, including storm-related treatment, Barth said.

“There is a chronic shortage of a lot of things,” he said.

Additionally, Doctors of the World has done community outreach to determine just how to cater to their future patients.

“We want to try and really understand from the community level what the situation is, what the needs are and what the community wants, as opposed to telling them what they want,” Barth said.

There is no definitive timetable as to when the clinic will open, but is projected to open within a couple of months.

 

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