With state funding cut, Port Charlotte free clinic struggles to survive

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PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. – With its state funding cut, the Virginia B. Andes Volunteer Community Clinic is struggling to survive.

The facility relied on tens of thousands of dollars in state funding to operate, but funds for free clinics across Florida were removed from the state budget.

Despite not being paid, hundreds of people are still working at the clinic.

“We just feel like it’s the proper thing to do, it’s the proper thing to do to help the poor and the uninsured,” said Dr. David Klein, who works at the clinic. “In the health care community, there is only one standard. Just because something is free you can’t say we’re just going to cut corners not make it as good, that doesn’t really cut it.”

Doctors fear they’ll lose some of their paid employees and their patients will have longer wait times.

“This is the last safety net and it was defunded by Governor Scott, so now we don’t have no safety net, they are going to end up in the emergency room,” said Dr. Mark Asperilla, who also works at the free clinic.

Charlotte County commissioners were able to salvage half of the clinic’s budget by providing $43,000.

The clinic is currently applying for grants and other funding.

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