DEAR EDITOR:

In 2003 a group of dedicated volunteers working together at the Community Kitchen saw a need in our community for medical services.

They worked with other volunteers to find doctors and nurses that could help offer medical services to local citizens who had no access to medical care. The Free Clinic of Rome was set up to serve low-income working people, who did not have medical insurance and could not pay for medical treatment.

Starting in a single room at the Salvation Army, open one day a month, the clinic now is open multiple days per week. We continue to serve low-income patients, without medical insurance.

We would like to thank the Rome community for their generous support of our Rome Free Clinic for the last 17 years. We have grown from seeing a few patients each month to, this past year, 3,200 patient visits. This year that number is expected to grow to 4,200 patient visits.

The Free Clinic has had our Annual Tomato Sandwich Supper on the first Friday night of August. We have used this as a fun night to help us update the community on our progress, raise some needed funds and have some fun. Due to the coronavirus, our board decided to not have the supper this year.

The Free Clinic continues seeing patients through the pandemic. We use a tent for blood tests and preliminary screening to see if patients might have the virus. Personnel have all the protective equipment to prevent them from the spread of the virus.

Our volunteer health providers have been most helpful in helping us take care of our patients. Increasing numbers of patients requires additional funding and we are working hard on making sure we have the financial support needed.

Our new location at 3 Professional Court has the much needed room to allow us to see more patients. Several patients have been with our clinic for a long time, receiving much needed long-term care. Now we also need to help those that have lost their jobs and or medical insurance due to the coronavirus.

Our clinic is dedicated to serving the needs of the Greater Rome Area. Thanks to the doctors, nurses, and many volunteers for their services. Thanks also to churches, businesses, and friends for their gifts, which help take care of our neighbors.

John Pillsbury

Rome Free Clinic board president

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