RotaCare Free Clinics have been in existence since 1989, when the first homeless patient was treated in Santa Clara by founder Mark Campbell. Since then RotaCare has expanded to include clinics in the San Francisco Bay Area, Washington, New York, and Texas. The model of RotaCare under the auspices of RotaCare Free Clinics continually works with groups to open new RotaCare clinics in other locations.
RotaCare Free Medical Clinics is a nonprofit corporation formed for the purpose of providing free medical care to people who have the most need and the least access to medical services. It is a coalition of Rotarians, physicians, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, interpreters and other volunteers who provide free medical care to the medically underserved in a collaborative effort with hospitals, clinics, community and social service organizations and service groups.
RotaCare Free Clinics is a California nonprofit public benefit corporation and is tax exempt under Section 501c3 of the Internal Revenue Code. RotaCare Free Clinics holds the rights to the RotaCare name. Our California clinics are licensed as community clinics by the State of California and our non-California clinics are similarly licensed under the laws of the states where they are located. Medical liability insurance is provided to our professional volunteers and the clinics are covered by property insurance.
Clinics usually start off by opening one evening week. The RotaCare clinics are intended to treat pain and suffering, although each has a slightly different scope of service depending on the needs of the community. In many instances as clinics provide care for patients with diabetes, hypertension or asthma, the clinic becomes a medical home for chronic patients. The goal of RotaCare is to provide free medical care while patients attempt to get enrolled in a medical home. Additionally, some specialty care is provided. Each clinic is run like an urgent medical care clinic. Each of the clinics serve up to 35 patients per clinic session.
RotaCare clinics are run by volunteers. RotaCare regional boards such as the RotaCare Bay Area board report to the RotaCare Free Clinics Board. Each clinic has its own Advisory Council that is accountable to the Regional RotaCare Board. Its goals are to preserve and advance the RotaCare mission and to ensure adherence to RotaCare clinical requirements and policies and procedures.
Each clinic is staffed by volunteers in a manner that assures patients the safest level of care. A physician or a registered nurse must be present at all times when medical care is being provided. Suggested minimal staffing requirements for a clinic during operation are: a Physician, Physician Assistant, or Nurse Practitioner, a Registered Nurse, Registrar, translator, and a Site Administrator. Clinic volunteers work in collaboration with a number of social service agencies in each community to provide follow-up and long-term care. RotaCare clinics act as a point-of-entry into many social service systems.
Patients are registered and assisted throughout the process by volunteers who speak their language. Nurses take each patient’s history and vital signs. Some of the clinics provide toys and books for the children as they wait. The physician examines the patient and charts the findings in a permanent record. Some clinics have a pharmacy, while others do not. For those that have a pharmacy, the patient record goes to the pharmacy for dispensing of free drugs while the patient waits in the waiting room. In the case of clinics with a pharmacy, consultation with the dispensing pharmacist is available. The patient finishes by meeting with a social worker/resource referral specialist for any special needs. A discharge plan for follow-up care is formulated. RotaCare clinics maintain a large list of pro bono specialist physicians and other low-cost clinics for care outside the clinic’s scope of service. The clinics have a list of available local resources that can help provide definitive treatment for problems beyond the scope of service of the clinic.