A low-cost health care clinic in Goshen, Indiana, has come up with a business plan that allows patients to pay for treatment with something other than money. At the Maple City Health Care Center, patients can help pay off their medical bills by performing community service.
Last fall, when the unemployment rate in Elkhart County, Indiana, topped 10 percent, clinic workers began noticing that patients weren’t showing up for appointments. Money just wasn’t available for office visits. So James Gingrich, the clinic’s medical director, decided to tap his patients’ skills and resources instead. The clinic began offering $10 an hour toward health care, if a patient volunteered at another non-profit organization.
“The More Than Money program has been a lifeline,” says Stephany Celis, new mom who wondered how, without health insurance, she would pay for her prenatal care.
To date, More Than Money participants have logged about 350 hours of community service.