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Free Clinic Helps Fill Health Care Gaps

The Jeanie Schmidt Free Clinic moved to its permanent location at 500 Grove Street in Herndon in 2006, but it has already outgrown the space. Meagan Ulrich is in charge of fund-raising and everyday operations of the clinic.

"Our goal is to fill the gaps that exist in the healthcare system," said Ulrich. The 41-year-old Vienna resident has headed the free clinic staff, almost all of whom are past volunteers, for two years, helping the clinic find its current home. She came to the position after years of experience in marketing, fund-raising and corporate development roles with national organizations, including the Red Cross and the Cancer Society.

Jeanie Schmidt Free Clinic serves people from Reston, Herndon, Chantilly and Centreville that have a household income of 200 percent or less of the federal poverty level and have no insurance or medicaid or medicare. It offers services for children and adults including diagnostic and preventive screenings. Volunteer doctors and nurses contribute their time and expertise to treat the clinic’s patients.

Ulrich said the clinic often receives patients who could have avoided astronomical medical costs had they known about the services offered. "They may not have known the services exist," she said. They had let preventable problems realize, sending them into emergency rooms where they are discharged with financial obligations. "Often with children, had the problem been treated, they would have never ended up in the ER," said Ulrich.

One of the free clinic’s objectives is to reach out to potential patients, "hitting the patients who don’t know about the clinic" through community outreach efforts, said Ulrich. "People who are interested in services should call," she said.

For more information on the Jeanie Schmidt Free Clinic, visit http://jsfreeclinic.org.