The Need

Responding to the Need in Clackamas County

17% of adults under 65 lack health insurance. In Clackamas County, an estimated 17% or 44,128 adults under the age of 65 lack health insurance. Contributing factors are:

    • 10.1% unemployment in the County.
    • an increasing number of County businesses do not provide health insurance to their employees.
    • Three of the county’s rural communities are among the state’s poorest.
    • Poverty is increasing, with 27.8% of public school children eligible for free or reduced price lunch.
    • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has designated Western Clackamas County as a health professional shortage area for the migrant and seasonal farm worker populations.
    • The State of Oregon has granted Health Professional Shortage Area designation to the southernmost parts of the county.
    • In 2011, one of Oregon City’s largest employers — Blue Heron Paper Mill — shut down, leaving 175 individuals and their families without jobs or health insurance.

Emergency Rooms overused. A visit to the ER will quickly identify uninsured Clackamas County residents accessing health care. Local hospitals estimate they provided triple the amount of charity care in 2010 than in 2009 through their ER and Urgent Care clinics! Sadly, using the ER for healthcare is often too late for those whose conditions are treatable with earlier access to health services. The facts are sobering, and the results are often life-threatening.

Lack of preventative care. Adults without health insurance are less likely to receive preventive care and wellness education, and are more likely to be hospitalized for preventable conditions. Uninsured adults are more likely to postpone or forgo health care altogether. The outcomes are grim, especially when preventable conditions go undetected. A family’s financial collapse overwhelmingly impacts all family members, while the cost to the community escalates as well.

Our Patients. The Clackamas VIM – Founders Clinic provides appointment-based, primary care services, at no charge, to low-income patients in Clackamas County who are uninsured and who meet 200% of federal poverty guidelines. Check eligibility.

Patients are primarily working-age adults — generally ages 18-64 — who lack access to healthcare because they don’t qualify for the Oregon Health Plan or Medicare. They work in hospitality, take care of the elderly, or are self employed and cannot afford health insurance. To date, among our patients —

    • 43% are male and 56% are female.
    • 50% are between the ages of 19-45
    • 50% are over the age of 46.

Breakdown by Ethnicity is:

    • 3% Asian or Pacific Islander
    • 79% Caucasian
    • 11% Hispanic
    • 6% Multi-Racial
    • 1% Native American.

Our patients come from 21 different communities throughout Clackamas County, and have traveled as far as 40 miles to obtain clinic services.

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