HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - For people who may not qualify for Medicaid, there is now an alternative: a new, free clinic for people with no insurance during the pandemic.
The Aloha Free Clinic doesn’t officially open until Monday, but doctors started treating patients Friday morning.
“I’m just going to listen here,” said Dr. Jim Ireland, as he pressed a stethoscope against Ting Lin Li’s chest. She told him she’s been dealing with chest pain: nothing serious, just some acid reflux.
The problem is that her prescription is empty.
Li thought she had plenty to last the trip when she came to see her daughter on Oahu. But what was supposed to be a few weeks turned into months.
Travel restrictions now preventing the woman from going home to China.
“She really needs the medication as soon as possible,” said her daughter, Julia Chang. “So Dr. Ireland emailed us and said, you guys can come in today.”
The doctor squeezed in the appointment moments before a ceremony to celebrate the grand opening of the new clinic, which has been funded completely through donations.
Over the next three months, hundreds of volunteer physicians will treat patients Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. until noon, then from 1:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. at the Kalihi Medical Building off King Street.
Their main focus is basic healthcare.
“Like high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, acid reflux, gout and asthma,” said Ireland.
But that’s not all they’re limited to. Several specialists are helping out, including a pediatrician and an OB-GYN.
“I think people ... if they’re not sure, they can email us," said Dr. Ireland. "And we’ll definitely email them back and say if that’s something we feel comfortable helping you with.”
Lt. Gov. Josh Green says telemedicine will also be used to reach patients on the neighbor islands.
“So friends on Maui, Big Island, Kauai, Molokai, if they have a need we’ll set it up,” he said.
To avoid a line outside the clinic, you’re asked to schedule an appointment by sending an email to email@example.com
In addition to the free visit, Li’s prescriptions were also on the house ― something doctors are hoping to do for most patients.
The clinic will be open through August 31.