In Eunice, a free healthcare clinic and pharmacy is in danger of being closed. The Eunice Community Health Center is in poor financial shape. And if nothing changes, it could be forced to close in a few months. The clinic serves low income and uninsured patients.
Every year, over 4,000 patients walk through the clinic's doors to receive free healthcare. That list includes free exams, eye care, prescriptions, pap smears, and even discounted lab work. It operates on $7,000 a month, but is now running out of money, and fast. The center's president, Glynn Michaud said, "We're short $56,000. So, if you break that up, that's eight months we don't have funding for."
Without the services, thousands would be without medications they need. It's hard for some to imagine life without the clinic, especially it's free pharmacy. One patient, Darlene Richard said, "I've got to get my medication for depression and anxiety. Without it, I don't know what I'd do."
And Michaud says without a free clinic, emergency rooms will bear the burden, which would eventually saddle taxpayers with the costs. "If the clinic closes, then emergency room (visits) increase," said Michaud. "It's $1,000 to $1,200 a visit. So, we're talking a million dollars and all we're asking for is $56,000."
The clinic staffs two employees, the rest are volunteers. Michaud hopes they won't have to close the doors to what he calls Eunice's best kept secret.
"It's a great place," said Michaud. "We've been helping people for years. We're just asking for a little help to get us over the hump."