From basic gynecological services to screening for a possible infection, there always seems to be a need for medical attention, but when that time arrives and you don’t have health insurance, you can feel stranded without options.
Whether you are uninsured because you are low-income or because you lack the documentation necessary to obtain insurance, Milwaukee is home to several clinics that offer free, quality health care services, regardless of your insurance status or income.
Since 1974, the Brady East STD Clinic has been providing sexually transmitted disease diagnosis and treatment, as well as HIV/AIDS testing and counseling, at no cost.
“We’re probably the only clinic in the country that has been around as long as we have and have never charged for (STD/HIV) services,” said Jerry Warzyn, who has been volunteering as clinical manager for Brady East STD Clinic for more than 30 years.
Every service provided by doctors, clinicians and counselors is 100 percent volunteer and/or donation-based. Volunteers at this clinic have been trained by other veteran volunteers and understand the need for sensitivity and proper care, regardless of gender/sexual orientation.
Since it was established in 2010, the Women’s Care Center has provided services to more than 23,000 women. Sharon Hudy, executive director of the Women’s Care Center, said that services provided include free pregnancy testing, ultrasound screening and counseling in relation to abortion, adoption and parenting. If a mother is not prepared for a child or has more to learn about parenting, Women’s Care Center provides resources and classes in childproof/ home preparation, nursing, childcare, goal-setting, OB-GYN referral/checkups and birth processes and expectations.
“If they keep with their prenatal appointments and they come to the classes, then they earn coupons which can be redeemed in our on-site clip-club stores for all new baby supplies: convertible cribs, car seats, strollers, clothing up to size T, diapers, wipes, everything that they need to care for the baby,” Hudy said.
Women’s Care Center provides a “loving and non-judgemental” approach to helping mothers by offering free books for mom-baby bonding or counseling for mothers in college or who suffer from violence.
“On average clients will stay with us for three to five years because they’re learning about various things,” Hudy said. “It can be from learning how to properly discipline your toddler to how to create a budget.”
Bread of Healing Clinic had more than 5,000 primary care patient visits and 180 volunteers in 2016. Organizations and facilities like Aurora Sinai Hospital and United Way help supply its volunteer staff and care providers, keeping the clinic available to those without insurance. With three locations in Milwaukee, it provides a variety of services including primary care, behavioral health counseling and eye care.
Charline Nguyen, a volunteer, said dental insurance is often hard to come by, and the dental services provided (by the Bread of Healing Clinic) are “greatly appreciated.”
Rooted in religious faith and virtues, the clinic ensures that all patients are “treated with the utmost respect regardless of their background, socioeconomic, status or any situation,” Nguyen said.
Bread of Healing Clinic also provides classes to teach students an array of health information while ensuring that every uninsured person in Milwaukee is well-educated and well-cared for.