The Legal and Operational Guide for Free Medical Clinics

    View Authors September 2015

    The American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA) and the American Medical Association (AMA) Foundation, in collaboration with the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, recently released a new publication, The Legal and Operational Guide for Free Medical Clinics. Developed through the efforts, leadership and contributions of partner and AHLA’s Immediate Past President Peter Pavarini, this is an important resource to assist healthcare providers and community leaders build and operate free or charitable medical clinics in underserved communities.

    Now available as a free download at www.healthlawyers.org/FreeMedicalClinic, the publication provides guidance and basic tools for clinic organizers to effectively address the most commonly encountered questions and issues including volunteer recruitment, tax-exemption, credentialing, board obligations, fundraising, staff safety, patient privacy, insurance and healthcare quality.

    Commenting on the new guide, Peter said, “Ten years ago when I helped start the Grace Clinics of Ohio, a resource such as this would have been incredibly valuable. It will certainly help lawyers like me to assist our communities and navigate the complexities of setting up free clinics.”

    The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that up to 31 million Americans will still lack affordable health coverage in 2022 despite the advent of health reform under the Affordable Care Act. Free or charitable clinics continue to be critical safety nets for millions of under- and uninsured individuals. While the creation of more clinics will not completely eliminate the number of under- and uninsured, they will certainly help narrow the gaps in coverage currently experienced by our most economically disadvantaged populations.

    Associate Stanford Moore contributed the section on Good Samaritan Laws (GSLs), which is a general discussion of the relevant elements and immunity from civil malpractice liability that GSLs offer to free medical clinics.