How to start a free clinic

Click the + sign to expand the FAQ’s. 

Do we have to build a clinic?

No. Clinics are generally held in an existing facility. Advisory Councils have been able to obtain space that is provided free of charge for their use.
They are being held in schools, churches, community centers, senior centers, clinics, and hospitals. One clinic operates a mobile facility.

Isn’t it expensive to open and run a clinic?

No. Cost for the initial setup varies depending on the facility used. Generally, Advisory Councils have been able to tap into Rotarian volunteers who have provided the materials and manpower to create the necessary environment to hold a clinic. The cost to operate a once a week clinic will run approximately $20,000 to $80,000 per year. The cost varies depending on how many patients are seen, and what support is given to the clinic in terms of donations and in-kind services. Examples of donations are things such as medical supplies, medications, office supplies, and more. In-kind donations can come in terms of free rent, laboratory, and radiology services.

Where do we get that kind of money?

Existing clinics find their funding from a variety of sources. They begin by asking their sponsoring Rotary clubs for whatever donation they are able to make that year. With that as their seed money, they then approach community foundations, hospitals and other interested community groups for financial help. It’s important to continually research and write grants to potential fundraisers to secure ongoing funding for the clinic.

Do clinics receive government support?

Many clinics have relationships with County Health Departments that make available definitive services and specialized drugs such as flu vaccine. County hospitals have also provided in-kind support to clinics. Always check with city and county governments for possible grants for community service, organizations and projects.

How do we get started?

Our Chief Executive Officer and Board members are available to come to your club or community group to present RotaCare. They will provide a program that will cover the basics of RotaCare and answer any questions your group may have. Call RotaCare at (650) 772-4905 to set up an appointment or ask questions.  Want to have us reach out to you by email?  Fill out a quick form and we will get info back to you!

What is the first step?

Actually, you’ve already taken the first step. When RotaCare is approached by a Rotary Club or group that wants to start a clinic, we speak to the individual or group and recommend a person take the lead in pursuing the goal. We also recommend that the group obtain this book to be certain that the clinic is developed within the guidelines of the RotaCare. The RotaCare Free Clinics Board must approve new regional RotaCare corporations, while the Boards of existing RotaCare regional corporations must approve the opening of new RotaCare clinics within their areas.

How long will it take?

With the assumption that you are now at the point where you have made contact with your local Rotary clubs and started to get volunteers from within the club(s) interested in the project, it is reasonable to assume that you are a year or more away from opening your clinic. We have seen projects try to complete the process faster, but with all the different entities that have a part in the process, this is the time frame that we have seen proven over time. Much depends on the size of the community and the different number of groups that need to come to an agreement.

Please contact RotaCare Free Clinics or the CEO at RotaCare Bay Area to attain the “notice of intent.” We appreciate the early notification so that we can work with you to put the pieces into place to support your development process.

Got Questions? We Are Here To Help!

Call us at 650-772-4905.

We have a proven formula that will help you succeed in starting your own clinic.


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