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ADVANCE Voice: NP

NP Free Clinic Sees More Uninsured

Published March 18, 2009 12:51 PM by Jennifer Ford

Nurse practitioner Sandi Shanahan operates a nonprofit clinic in Annapolis, Maryland. Her clinic, Shanahan Children's Clinic, offers health care at whatever cost patients can afford. In an article published on hometownannapolis.com yesterday, she talks about the increase in patient visits as unemployment and uninsurance rises:

"We're not crazy busy, but we have definitely increased," Shanahan said. "There's still plenty of room for more people to come. I want it to continue to increase. The word needs to get out more. The people losing their jobs and losing their insurance - they've never had to look for anything like this before."

She is also working with the area's physicians and pharmacists to coordinate health care services at reduced prices for patients struggling with finances.

What does this mean for NPs in the various settings they work? Free or "donation-encouraged" clinics will likely find themselves busy very soon if they aren't already, and this is likely a good time for NPs to seek employment in that setting. And on another note, what happens if there's an overflow at a free clinic? Is this another area where retail health care (and NPs employed at those clinics) can help, or will patients still go to the emergency room because they can't afford the $60 fee at a retail clinic?

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