Large-scale, short-term free clinics are increasingly filling a void in health care for uninsured Americans in cities and low-income rural regions, writes The Wall Street Journal. The charity-operated, largely donor-funded events, staged in venues like racetracks and convention centers, can last one to a few days and see thousands of patients seeking everything from dental care to antipsychotic medications.
The largest provider, Remote Area Medical, has a $1.8 million budget and holds about 40 free clinics a year across the United States and abroad. Groups such as Medworks in Cleveland have adopted the model on a regional basis, relying on volunteer medical personnel. The growth of the pop-up clinics shows that "for many people, the [medical] safety net is more hole than webbing," said Ron Pollack, head of health-care advocacy group Families USA.