Illinois free clinics providing essential supplies for diabetics

While many are scrambling to buy toilet paper and bleach, people with diabetes are struggling to find the rubbing alcohol and swabs and wipes that they need for their injections and insulin pumps because of hoarding.

However, there are 52 free and charitable clinics in Illinois that serve many patients with diabetes and in need of rubbing alcohol. Melissa Maguire, executive director of the Illinois Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, said many patients depend on the clinics for medications and supplies that diabetics need to survive.

“The clinics are doing an amazing job. They are focusing on medication access for their patients,” she said.

Because of COVID-19, delivering the supplies and medications to patients has become more difficult. Social distancing and all the extra work necessary “to keep the clinics accessible and safe” has made everything more complicated, Maguire says.

Free and Charitable Clinics serve some of the poorest people in the state. Many of them work in hotels and restaurants that have been closed, she said.

The clinics get no state or federal funding for the care and medications and supplies that they provide.

“They rely solely on fundraisers and on donations from credible pharmaceutical companies,” Maguire said.

Unfortunately for the clinics, spring is the time of year when they do their most important fundraising. Many long-planned fundraising events have had to be canceled.

“Our clinics are very, very challenged right now,” she said. “They are figuring out how to get the resources that they need so that they can continue to get the medications to their patients.”

Maguire said she wants people to understand that there are many marginalized people in Illinois, including working poor people, who depend on the free and charitable clinics. They have no other access to medical care.

“Our Free and Charitable Clinics, throughout the state, try very creative and engaging practices so that their patients can have access to quality health care. And that includes medications,” Maguire said.

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