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THOSE WHO NEED IT MOST

Non-profit offers free medical care to qualifying locals

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Non-profit offers free medical care to qualifying locals

HealthReach Community Clinic opened in 2003 and is the only free health clinic in Iredell County. It’s trying to raise money for equipment that would allow the clinic to conduct more tests in-house.

HealthReach serves about 750 people, with each having to meet three requirements: They must live in Iredell County, have no insurance and make less than 250% of the federal poverty level.

Executive Director Bri Niggel said anyone who meets those requirements can enroll and receive services from HealthReach for a year. Most patients are in the program for a year or two before they become financially independent enough to move on from it.

“We try to maintain patient dignity by doing things like keeping the clinic nice, warm and friendly, but most importantly, we provide the best care you can find anywhere,” Niggel said.

In 2019, HealthReach made 4,000 medical appointments, distributed more than 10,000 prescriptions and completed more than 1,000 tests.

Niggel said more than 99% of the medication HealthReach distributes is donated by two national nonprofits, Direct Relief and Americares. The clinic also helps patients enroll in prescription assistance programs for help procuring medicines the clinic can’t provide.

Diabetes is the most frequent and expensive condition the clinic treats. One of the pieces of equipment will help confirm a diabetes diagnoses with a test at the clinic. Niggel said the group currently has a partnership with Lake Norman Regional Medical Center for testing.

“Transportation is a barrier,” Niggel said. “It’s important to handle as much as possible in a visit.”

Niggel said HealthReach depends on volunteers. The clinic has eight paid staffers, but the time they work is only equal to four full-time positions.

People can help through donations or volunteering. Niggel said HealthReach needs volunteers with and without medical skills. Details regarding these opportunities can be found on healthreachclinic.net.

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