In 2012, more than 47 million Americans are estimated to be without health insurance.
While some could qualify for medical assistance programs or private insurance, many others simply "fall through the cracks" . Ineligible for assistance programs and unable to afford coverage, many people are forced to go without needed healthcare.
It is a problem throughout the country, and the La Crosse area is no exception.
Substantial numbers of people have significant problems accessing basic healthcare. Their problems are compounded by rising medical and pharmaceutical costs, loss of employment and lack of monetary means.
Our community, unfortunately, is not immune to these problems.
St. Clare Health Mission
In 1992, representatives of health and social service organizations throughout our community began a collaborative effort to address health care access for the poor and uninsured.
Under the direction of Sister Leclare Beres FSPA, a unique and innovative program emerged from this effort -
a program in which multidisciplinary volunteers provide free basic health care to those who would otherwise receive none.
The St. Clare Health Mission volunteers, continue, after twenty years, to provide healthcare for the poor and uninsured in our community.
St. Clare Health Mission is named for Clare of Assisi, a contemporary of St. Francis who renounced all of her possessions - even giving away her shoes -
as she devoted her life to the care of the poor.
The term "health mission" describes not only the program, but also the motivation which guides it.
The Mission has provided care for over 16,500 patients in over 75,000 visits to the clinic since it's inception in 1993.
Individuals who qualify for care are not eligible for private, state or federal healthcare coverage programs and have an income that falls at or below 200% of the federal poverty level.
St. Clare Health Mission is open for walk in care on Tuesday and Thursday, evening registration is from 5:00p.m. until 7:00p.m. Volunteers will stay until all who registered have received care.
Board Certified Specialists in the areas of Cardiology, Dermatology, Emergency Medicine, Endocrinology, Family Practice, Gastroenterology, General Surgery,Gynecology, Internal Medicine, Neurology, Oncology, Orthopedics, Pain Management, Pediatrics, Physical Medicine, Physical Therapy, Podiatry, Pulmonary Medicine, Rheumatology and Urology are available for scheduled patient appointments at the clinic.
In 2002 the Wednesday continuity clinic was opened with the purpose of caring for those with unstable chronic medical conditions. This is a student based clinic, with students from the Mayo Family Practice Residency program, Viterbo University Nursing program, Viterbo Nutrition program, UW Pharmacy program and UW School of Medicine and Public Health. These students work with their preceptors to provide care while learning the unique challenges associated with lack of access to the medical system. Nutrition counseling, diabetic education, smoking cessation, foot care and specialty medical care are offered each Wednesday.
The St. Clare Health Mission is not intended to duplicate existing programs. All who have access to alternative services are encouraged to pursue those resources for their care.
St. Clare Health Mission is grateful for the generous support received from Mayo Clinic Health System - Franciscan Healthcare
and Gundersen Health System.
Funding for the Mission, including medical supplies such as pharmaceuticals, is paid for through community donations.
Donations may be directed to St. Clare Health Mission, 916 Ferry St., La Crosse, WI 54601.
The St. Clare Health Mission is an expression of the charitable mission of the individuals and organizations who desire to serve the less fortunate and to recognize the dignity of all.