Going to the doctor’s office can be expensive. That is one reason why nearly one out of five adults in Collier County have not made the trip, according to the latest data from the health department.
Erik Mulleavey, who lives in Collier County, is one of the thousands taking it day by day without the safety net of insurance. Mulleavey told WINK News that not having insurance affects his ability to work as often as he would like. But a volunteer-driven, non-profit in Naples is working to help people like him, with a mission “to take care of the working, uninsured,” he said.
Leslie Lascheid is the chief executive officer at the Neighborhood Health Clinic on 12 St. N.
“Fifty thousand people in Collier County,” Lascheid said, “qualified under our eligibility requirements.”
Patients must be between the ages of 19 to 64, earn at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty line, live in Collier County, be uninsured and work a minimum of 80 hours each month. Patients are not billed for the services rendered. However, once qualified, patients typically contribute $20 per month for clinic operating expenditures.
Keith Maples, the CDO of the Neighborhood Health Clinic, said it has around 14,000 patients in their medical database. The clinic plans to grow with an expansion project. In the third and fourth phases, they are adding “radiology with women’s care with mammography” and to the education center.
The expansion is being driven by over $11 million in private donations. The clinic hopes to reach its goal of $12.8 million soon. The money will help neighbors in need, which the project could soon cure.
“I know it’s important – it really is,” Mulleavey said. “I’ve met a lot of people who get hurt, get sick.”