‘I don’t pity the wounded; I become the wounded.’ ( Walt Whitman )

by Nurses Hoolihan and Ratchette

Ever wonder where people go for care when they don’t have health insurance? For many in Broome County the Dr. A. Fattal Community Free Clinic in the Broome County Health Department at 225 Front Street in Binghamton is their only hope. Two nights a week, the mostly volunteer staff of physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, pharmacists and non-medical staff,  provide quality healthcare including; X-rays, blood work, follow up care and prescription drugs at no cost to their clients.

The majority of clients are the working poor [sic].

Who Are the Working Poor?

While we’re paying our low, low prices at the various marts, malls, plazas and food palaces around the region, the corporate owners, who have made even discussing a union grounds for dismissal, have  also made the calculated decision  not to include any health coverage for those who serve us. Medicaid does not cover most uninsured  adults.

In 2009 the average cost of family health coverage was over $13,000. Nine out of 10 uninsured are in the low to moderate income category and cannot afford this huge out of pocket expense.

Many of the patients at the Free Clinic share the ‘common’ complaints of the uninsured around the world; diabetes, malnutrition, tuberculosis, asthma,  etc.

Most industrialized countries have universal health coverage – American exceptionalism has a darker side when one considers the health of its subjects……..Not having health insurance leads to problems because without preventative healthcare, chronic and acute health problems go undetected and untreated leading to premature mortality. It has been estimated that nine people die every day in most American cities for this reason.

Free Clinic Workers Walk the Walk

The Clinic volunteers are on the frontlines of the class war against the poor and unrepresented people of the Broome County. While some health care advocates might  sign a petition,  post a yard sign, go to a meeting [or write a newspaper article!], the clinic workers ‘walk the walk’. They are comprised of retirees, working professionals  (on their ‘free’ time) students and non-medical workers. Additional volunteers from all walks of life are always welcome to join!

The clinic founded in 1997 is financially sustained by UHS, Broome County Health Department, Binghamton University, a smattering of pharmaceutical companies and generous contributions from the public at large. In these ever increasingly dark times, isn’t it nice to celebrate those who join together in the cause of restoring and fighting for the health of our communities?

Clinic hours are:

Monday &Thursday

5:00 p m – 8:00pm

first come, first served

The Clinic is located at:

225 Front St, Binghamton

(in the Broome County Health Department)

For more info: 607 778-3938



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