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Free Clinic Finds Volunteers

But there's always room for more.

In January, the Connection reported that the Loudoun Community Free Clinic was facing a critical shortage of doctors.

Well, there's good news. Since the article's publication, at least one new physician has begun to volunteer regularly at the clinic, which treats any adult Loudoun resident without health insurance. Other new volunteers are starting to step up, said executive director Lyle Werner.

With an additional physician contributing to the clinic's evening hours, the clinic was able to double the number of patients seen on the new physician's first night last week.

"We saw all comers," Werner said. "We didn't turn anyone away. Had [the new physician] not been here, we would have had to turn people away."

The clinic is still looking for volunteer doctors and interpreters. Currently it's open one day a week for appointments and twice in the evening for walk-ins, but Werner hopes to keep expanding.

The number one cost to the clinic is prescription drugs, but with the help of a computerized aid called Prescription Assistance Program, Werner estimates that the clinic could cut drug costs from $135,000 per year to less than $50,000. America Online has donated the necessary hardware, and Werner thinks she has a donor in line for the software. She's still seeking someone to donate the intra-office network.

For more information on the Loudoun Community Free Clinic, visit www.loudounfreeclinic.org.