It's a clinic like no other, and it was hosted in Madison Saturday. The free health care clinic provided hundreds of uninsured residents with medication and other necessary medical care that they might not normally be able to get.
"It's very scary that you have health issues, but don't have the money or resources to get the help that you need," patient Silvana Mercedes said.
Mercedes has been living without health insurance for seven years. As a diabetic she said the free clinic stirred up unexpected emotions.
"I cried. I gave the doctors hugs because it was that much of a relief for me, knowing that I'm going to be able to have a supply of medication," she said.
She received three months of free medication supplied by the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, a prescription she thought she would have to go without for at least the next few months. NAFC, who put on the one-day event, offered patients medical exams, test and other medical resources for those who are uninsured or have little access to medical care.
"This is a great place to tell the story of the 222,000 people that are going to be left behind after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. It's also a great place to talk to all of those people who didn't understand about BadgerCare, who didn't know it was going on," NAFC Executive Director Nicole Lamoureux said.
Around 650 volunteers helped to put on the event. The clinic was not just for the sick, patients who did not have a specific medical need still received a free checkup. It’s a resource the association felt was necessary for the community.
"It's a really heavy burden that you carry around with you. The worry, making that decision between putting food on the table and going to see a doctor is one that no one should have to do," Lamoureux said.
For residents like Mercedes, Saturday's event provided them with not only care that is usually inaccessible, but it also eased concerns.
"This pretty much gave me an alternative and brought such a huge relief. I feel 10 times better than I did when I came in, and I was able to get the care that I desperately needed," she said.