Universal access to health care services is a national priority. Issues currently being examined include out-of-control health care spending, poor health, and the redesign of the health care financing system. Safety-net providers – in the form of free clinics and federally qualified community health centers (FQHC) – provide much needed support to fill service delivery gaps for the uninsured and underinsured.

There has been confusion with the differences between the Free Clinic of Danville and PATHS, which is an FQHC. The information below will summarize those differences.  (Click here for a printer-friendly version of this information)

Regulatory Agencies:

  • The Free Clinic: Accredited through the Virginia Association of Free & Charitable Clinics. This is a voluntary accreditation.
  • PATHS:  Defined by Section 330 of the Public Health Service Act as an FQHC. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is responsible for oversight.

Primary Funding Mechanisms:

  • The Free Clinic:  Private sector: Local foundation grants and donations from the community. No Federal funding. No fees for services.
  • PATHS:  Federal grants; Medicaid; Medicare; Insurance payers; Public and private grants; Self-pay.

Population Served:

  • The Free Clinic:  Uninsured citizens of Danville and Pittsylvania County with incomes at or below 200% of Federal Poverty Level.
  • PATHS:  Everyone. Including those with insurance and those without.

Composition of Board of Directors:

  • The Free Clinic:  Comprised of area residents and community leaders
  • PATHS:  Federal rules require that at least 51% of the board are consumers.

Prescription Assistance:

  • The Free Clinic:  Medications are provided at no charge or up to $5 per prescription if the patient fills the prescription locally. Many medications are donated for the uninsured but there may be a small processing fee for medication assistance and dispensing.
  • PATHS:  Medications provided through private drug coverage benefits, at discounted rates using the 340B program, and through drug company sponsored patient assistance programs.

Primary Care:

  • The Free Clinic:  Provided primarily by volunteers with one paid Nurse Practitioner on staff.
  • PATHS:  Provided by medical providers (doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants) employed by PATHS.

Dental Care:

  • The Free Clinic:  Provided by volunteers.
  • PATHS:  Provided by dental providers (dentists and hygienists) employed by PATHS.

Specialty Care:

  • The Free Clinic:  Provided by volunteers on site or local physicians in their private offices at no charge. Some specialty services are provided at UVA under the indigent care program.
  • PATHS:  Provided based on reimbursement, sometimes requiring patients to travel long distances to UVA in Chartottesville, VA.

In-Patient Care:

  • The Free Clinic:  Scheduled admissions provided through indigent care at UVA but urgent/emergent admissions are assisted by our local hospitals.
  • PATHS:  Provided based on reimbursement, sometimes requiring patients to travel long distances to UVA in Chartottesville, VA.

Out-of-Pocket Fees for Patients:

  • The Free Clinic:  No Clinic fees for medical services.
  • PATHS:  Determined by Insurance, or after determining eligilibility for sliding fee scales (lowest medical payment = $25; lowest dental payment = $50).

Lab/Radiology Services:

  • The Free Clinic:  Danville Regional Medical Center donates lab and limited radiology services to Free Clinic patients.
  • PATHS:  Provided based on reimbursement, or as part of all-inclusive sliding fee co-payment.

Economic Impact:

  • The Free Clinic:  Minimum 3:1
  • PATHS:  7:1

Click here to learn more about The Free Clinic of Danville.


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