JANESVILLE, Wis. - Rock County's only free clinic is being forced to make more than $40,000 in cuts.
Jean Randals, executive director of HealthNet of Rock County, said the number of uninsured and underinsured residents is growing.
"Financially, the dollars haven't increased as the demand has increased," Randals said.
She said the demand is so high that the clinic isn't taking new patients.
"We are currently reducing the number of enrollments. We're doing that for approximately six weeks while we get things under control and understand where we're at financially," Randals said.
Last year, HealthNet provided more than 9,000 medical and dental clinic visits to needy families throughout the county. While the number of patients went down about 4 percent, medication costs for the clinic's patients went up, which is prompting the need for cuts.
"We've also reduced the number of medications we'll purchase. Most of our medications are provided to us through a patient assistance program, which is provided at no cost. Last year, HealthNet purchased more than $3 million in medication," Randals said.
Medications aren't the only expense the clinic has cut.
"The reduction of labs, the reduction of medications purchased and the elimination of X-rays helped us with that $41,000," Randals said.
After opening in 1994, HealthNet expanded the clinic last year to meet growing demand. Now, other options are being considered to cover costs.
"We are looking at patient fees. That's a possibility in the future, but it's not something that HealthNet wants to move to right away," Randals said.
Aside from two full-time and nine part-time staff members, the entire clinic, including the doctors and dentists, are all volunteers.
There are about 60 volunteers. Those interested in volunteering or making a financial contribution to HealthNet of Rock County can find more information at http://www.healthnetofjanesville.org/.
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