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Become a Member Clinic


Research indicates a funded administrative core is crucial to the success of volunteer-based initiatives, such as free medical clinics. The FCI Central Office provides both executive/administrative and clinical support for Iowa's free clinics.  Through the central office, FCI provides the essential elements of operations such as insurance, accounting, tax filing, marketing, technology, volunteer application processing, education, meeting facilitation, office supplies, medical supplies and resources.

Our thinking is; if we are able to generate support to ease the administrative burden off of community free medical clinics, support generated locally can be utilized toward direct patient service delivery at the free clinic site, which is and should remain our member clinic’s number one priority.

We believe there is strength in numbers – in terms of collaboration, education, awareness and impact. If you are interested in learning more, click through the buttons or download a PDF with all of the information you need to become a clinic.

  • What is a free clinic?
    The State of Iowa provides a definition of free clinic: “Free Clinic” means a facility, other than a hospital or health care provider’s office which is exempt from taxation under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and which has as its sole purpose the provision of health care services without charge to individuals who are otherwise unable to pay for the services. (Source: IA Code: 135.24) Learn more about IA Code 135.24 Most of the free clinics in Iowa are volunteer-based and provide services out of a church or community center, at no cost to patients.
  • Why free clinics?
    Charity care is cornerstone to efforts addressing the healthcare needs of Iowa's most vulnerable populations. Community leaders identify the need and initiate grass-roots efforts to serve the underserved through free medical clinics.
  • How can I begin a free clinic in my community?
    If you believe this is an unmet need in your community, identify champions and a site willing to take on the initiative then contact us. Champions should be willing to fill the Volunteer roles of Medical Director and Clinic Manager (FCI provides template job descriptions for these positions). Site should be willing to provide space and storage for clinic operations (FCI provides lease agreement templates).
  • What about medical malpractice insurance?
    We are fortunate in the State of Iowa to have an established program which offers indemnification to free clinics and its volunteer health care providers. Learn more about the Volunteer Health Care Provider Program. Learn more about VHCPP
  • How can it be free?
    Physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals volunteer their time to provide quality medical services. Lay volunteers handle patient check-in, clerical assistance, site maintenance and other tasks to insure an efficient operation. Use of Church and Community Center space allows the clinics to operate with little or no rental and utility costs. Generous individuals, businesses and organizations provide contri butions of cash, supplies, pharmaceuticals and equipment. No-cost membership with FCI provides operational and procedural tools as well as needed equipment, technology and education.
  • Who uses the free clinic?
    Those that are in between health insurance coverage due to job transitions, relocation, etc Those who are eligible for health insurance coverage but find it unaffordable Those who have health insurance but have no available access due to provider shortages, transportation issues, limited childcare options, time off work considerations, etc Those who have health insurance but find premiums with additional out-of-pocket expenses such as co-pays, deductibles and items not included in their plan, unaffordable Those who are indigent and homeless who do not access traditional healthcare delivery systems Those who are undocumented and unauthorized and do not qualify for any coverage options
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