PALM BAY - Brevard County residents who don't have health insurance will be able to get free medical and dental care at a new clinic opening in Palm Bay on Monday. The volunteer doctors operating the facility say it's especially important now, since thousands of aerospace workers in the county are losing their jobs and health benefits as the space shuttle program winds down. [audio:http://eunalhee.com/wp-content/uploads/Lhee_freeclinic.mp3|titles=freeclinic|artists=Lhee]
The new clinic will be completely free for Brevard County's uninsured residents, who earn less than twice the federal poverty level. It will be staffed by medical professionals from a group called Space Coast Volunteers In Medicine.
The organization has chapters that run similar free clinics around the country, including five in Florida. The Palm Bay facility will also be the pilot for a new national project that hopes to fund even more free medical facilities.
Paul Ringenberger is the Executive Director of Space Coast Volunteers in Medicine. He hopes the program will help patients who fall through the cracks in the nation's healthcare system.
"We’re there for the people who earn too much for any kind of government assistance, but they don’t earn enough to have health insurance," Ringenberger said. "Where do those folks go?"
The new clinic kicks off with a ribbon-cutting reception Monday afternoon. [HealthyState.org | FPR Spot]