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Wisconsin Primary Care Programs
Free Clinics

Free clinics are volunteer-based organizations that provide a range of outpatient medical, dental, pharmacy and mental health care to low-income, un/underinsured individuals.  Free clinics:
  • Are a non-profit (501(c)(3) organization or are affiliated with one
  • Use volunteer health professionals and may use some paid administrative staff
  • Have no specific federal or state definition or regulation
  • Number in Wisconsin about 60
Funding Support: Donations, small grants; some clinics have small patient co-pays.

Resources for communities interested in developing a free clinic:

  • National Association of Free Clinics (exit DHS) - A membership organization that has resource publications on clinic start-up and job descriptions, helps free clinics order discounted and donated products, and maintains a list of many free clinics.
  • Free Clinics of the Great Lakes (exit DHS) - A regional membership organization that shares information and holds educational conferences.
  • Wisconsin Volunteer Health Care Provider Program (exit DHS) A State program that can provide liability coverage for licensed health professionals who volunteer their services to provide outpatient care at free clinics. Clinics must submit an annual application to the Department of Administration Property and Liability Program.
  • Federal Tort Claims Act Coverage of Free Clinic Volunteer Health Care Professionals (exit DHS) Similar to Wisconsin's program. Clinics must submit an annual application to HRSA Bureau of Primary Health Care.
  • HRSA Rural Health Outreach Grant Program (exit DHS) Federal program that offers competitive grants to support the development of new and innovative health care delivery systems in rural communities that lack essential health services. Applicant must be located in a rural area, must be public or private non-profit, and must include collaboration with at least two other community partners.

Last Revised: August 18, 2014