French 500 Free Clinic in Gallipolis moves to twice-monthly service

Michael Johnson -

GALLIPOLIS – Providing services twice per month will now be the mission of French 500 Free Clinic.

According to French 500 Free Clinic vice president Paul R. Sebastian, better serving people age 6 and older who are under-insured, or have no insurance whatsoever, in southeastern Ohio and Mason County, W.Va., is the ultimate goal.

In addition to opening the clinic on the last Thursday of each month, the French 500 Free Clinic will now also be open the second Thursday of each month. The next clinic will be 1-3 p.m. Thursday (Oct. 8) and again from 1-3 p.m. Oct. 29 at its medical offices at 258 Pinecrest Drive. It’s at the old Hillcrest Clinic on Jackson Pike in the Spring Valley area next door to The Arbors at Gallipolis nursing home.

Sebastian said no appointment is necessary for the free clinics. One of the advantages of having twice-per-month clinics, he said, is that it allows for quicker follow-up appointments every two weeks instead of once per month.

“Thus this care for our patients (free of charge) will be more effective and more convenient,” he said.

Previously the free clinic announced a geographical expansion to the entire Ohio Valley that includes residents of Gallia, Meigs, Jackson, and Vinton counties, as well as Mason County in West Virginia and beyond.

“There is no longer a geographical limit,” Sebastian said.

Since the passage of the Affordable Health Care Act, also known as Obamacare, Sebastian said more people are now covered by health insurance, but there are millions more who are not covered.

“Many find health insurance to be so expensive that they prefer to pay the fine,” he said. “Those of very low income may qualify for excellent coverage through the expansion of Medicaid. Among those who are covered, many cannot afford the high deductible and co-pays. These under-insured people also need help. The French 500 Free Clinic is willing and able to serve both the uninsured and the under-insured.”

Sebastian said the free clinic has eliminated age restrictions, except for children below the age of six who are covered by a county health department and other governmental agencies. Within the family income guidelines, eligible children under the age of 18 can obtain extensive coverage with no deductible or copay through the Department of Job and Family Services at 848 Third Avenue in Gallipolis.

The clinic is staffed by physicians and registered nurses with access to a chiropractor, a social worker and a counselor. These and other volunteers give their time, Sebastian said, to serve the community.

“Our patients are examined and treated by licensed medical practitioners and professionals. Each doctor is assisted by a registered nurse,” he said. “When necessary, our medical facility and its physicians refer patients to an appropriate specialist. We assist patients with lab work and prescriptions.”

Sebastian said the free clinic does not dispense pain medications.

For more information on the free clinics, call 740-446-0021.

Michael Johnson

Reach Michael Johnson at 740-446-2342, ext. 2102, or on Twitter @OhioEditorMike.

Reach Michael Johnson at 740-446-2342, ext. 2102, or on Twitter @OhioEditorMike.