Help The Moss Clinic at the Community Drive

Tomorrow in Fredericksburg we have a Community Give. Everyone is posting frantically to give to THEIR cause. I'm putting in my two cents worth for the Moss Free Clinic where I am Medical Director because I see the need these people have, and we never have enough money to provide all the treatment they need.


If you are so moved, go to the Moss website at and donate.


Below is what I wrote in the local paper Front Porch about this:


A topic that has been discussed before came up again at the Moss Free Clinic executive committee meeting the other evening.


“Why doesn’t the public find sick, poor people, more sexy?”


“Sexy” is not the proper term of course when we’re meaning more attractive. “Charismatic” or “needy” might be better terms – or whatever characteristic it is that makes people feel they want to donate their money.


This question is prompted by the rather sour grapes sounding observation that in last years ‘Community Give’ (which is coming up again on this May 3rd), Empowerhouse raised $78,026. Moss Clinic raised $ 4,500


Now Empowerhouse is famous for it’s skills in fund raising and public relations. And I am not denigrating their worthy cause of supporting survivors of domestic violence. But I, and my fellow committee members, are prompted to question why people seem to be more willing to give to survivors of domestic violence than the medically indigent.


Is it the idea people should not have to get their healthcare through charity? I personally think having to do so sucks. But given that the stiffs in Richmond refuse to expand Medicaid, any of those 400,000 left hanging, who cannot afford health insurance or to pay out of pocket either accept charity or just don’t get treated (no insurance, and an income below 200% of federal poverty guidelines – which means and income of $23,760 for a single person – are requirements for Moss Clinic eligibility)


Or is it that the medically indigent have brought it on themselves in some way? There are certainly smokers, drinkers and people who live a profligate life (as in any practice). But there are plenty of people we see who are just victim of circumstance, or sick for no discernable reason.


The guy I just saw who was on a trip home to El-Salvador, when he had a seizure and hurried back - to be told he had a basically inoperable glioblastoma multiforme of the brain. I can’t quite see how he brought this on himself.


Then there are plenty of people caught up in that all-American catch-22 where you get sick; lose your job because you are unable to work - and with it goes your health insurance, just when you really need it.


I always tell people the Moss Clinic is a “perfect storm” of dysfunction – which may sound uncomplimentary, but so many of the patients we see are train-wrecks; nearly all the providers are volunteers, so never quite become conversant with the logistics of the place (like trying to keep up with what’s on our pharmacy’s formulary – which keeps changing as this or that generic drug maker gets a wild hair and jacks up their price hundreds of percent).


The third reason is something you could do something about.


I’m sure your mail box and phone are like mine and a constant barrage of solicitation, but Moss never has enough funds for people to get the exact right medicines; the ancillary services; the sleep apnea equipment; the surgical appliances they need. The list goes on and on.


Remember these unsexy people on May 3rd.

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