: News

Filed Under:

Arlington Free Clinic Demand Continues To Grow

Play associated audio
Volunteer Marietha Mayen is one of the first faces patients at the Arlington Free Clinic see.
Jonathan Wilson
Volunteer Marietha Mayen is one of the first faces patients at the Arlington Free Clinic see.

By Jonathan Wilson

As the President and members of Congress get set to renew talks on health care legislation, the surge in demand at free health care clinics in our area continues.

Marietta Mayen is one of the first people patients at the Arlington Free Clinic see she's a volunteer who helps explain how appointments will work, often in Spanish. 60 percent of patients here are Hispanic, a group that is four times more likely to be uninsured than non-Hispanics.

"Okay, thank you for the donations, gracias," Mayen says to two female patients who've slipped a few dollars into the donation jar.

The clinic moved into a larger, and newer office this past May, and the extra space is essential.

The clinic holds a lottery each month to fill the 20 new patient slots it keeps open. Executive Director Nancy Pallesen says 12 or 14 months ago, about 45 people would sign up for it.

"It's now up to 150 people a month are coming for those same 20 spaces, and it's every month," says Pallesen.

Sheila Ryan is the clinic's Director of Clinical Services. She's been here for six years, and is happy with the sparkling new office space, but she says watching this place grow is bittersweet.

"I would hope that as we grow we give better care, but I don't think its necessarily a good thing that more and more patients are turned away and we have to ask ourselves how we can serve more," says Ryan.

The Arlington Free Clinic currently serves more than 1600 patients a year.

Nancy Pallesen, the executive director of the Arlington Free Clinic, is also a member of WAMU's Community Council.

NPR

'Star Wars' Editors Defy Hollywood Conventions

In a film industry often dominated by men, there's at least one exception: Many editors are women. Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey speak about their work on the new Star Wars.
NPR

Florida Says Its Fruits, Vegetables Are Safe From Invasive Fruit Fly

Since September, Florida has been fighting an infestation of the Oriental fruit fly, an invasive pest that threatened more than 400 crops. The state declared the insect eradicated as of Saturday.
NPR

The Senate Battle That Looms For Scalia's Replacement

NPR's Domenico Montanaro discusses the upcoming battle on Capitol Hill on replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court.
NPR

Colonialism Comment Puts Facebook Under Scrutiny

A Facebook board member lambasted a decision by regulators in India, the social network's second-largest market. He thereby sparked new scrutiny of Facebook's intentions in that country.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.