Money needed to keep clinic open

Carson City's only free medical clinic is in danger of closing.

The foundation that has supported the Ross Medical Clinic for the past five years is finished July 1.

Ross Medical Clinic sees 265 people a month who might not otherwise be able to afford medical treatment.

The clinic is named after Dr. Charles Ross, who started seeing poor patients at Friends in Service Helping every Friday in 1997. Ross died a year later and one of his patients, an anonymous wealthy businessman, provided the money to lease the clinic's Long Street location and remodel it.

According to FISH Director Monte Fast, it costs $2,700 a month to keep the clinic going.

Fast is seeking 150 sponsors over the next six weeks to raise enough money to keep the clinic open.

That's why he came up with Dr. Charlie's Angels, his name for donors who pledge $20 a month to keep the clinic open.

"Our costs are running about $10 a patient," he said. "One pledge of $20 a month makes it possible for two people to be served."

Five doctors, two nurse practitioners and seven or eight nurses volunteer at the clinic. Prescriptions are filled from free samples donated by area doctors.

Fast said people who make a pledge will receive a gold angel lapel pin. He presented one of the first pins to Dr. Rex Baggett, a volunteer doctor who was Ross' personal physician.

"We need about 150 Charlie's Angels in the Carson City area to keep that clinic open," he said. "If we lose it, that's about 275 people a month who either just stay sick or go to the emergency room. We are saving the hospital as much as $310 a patient in emergency room and billing costs."

Fast said he is naming the fund after the late Consuelo Farmer, who volunteered as an interpreter at the clinic and provided cash for prescriptions.

"When you see the kids come in here all bleary eyed and weeping and going out smiling, clutching the prescription in their hands and the mom knows they are going to be all right, it really warms your heart."

Dr. William King, Dr. Jennifer Kimmell and Dr. Brian Hall are three of the volunteer physicians. Carol Read Anderson and Christine Fruglia are the nurse practitioners.

You can help

To become one of Dr. Charlie's Angels, call Monte Fast at Friends In Service Helping, 882-FISH (3474).


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