How do I get seen?
The clinic is open on Tuesday evenings, with numbers being assigned at 4:15 P.M. We are able to see 25 patients who meet our eligibility criteria on a walk-in basis. (See location and eligibility for details)
Please avoid arriving early to eliminate long lines from forming outside before the doors are opened.
We operate in space donated by the Vibrant Health Family Clinic and River Falls Area Hospital, part of AllinaHealth and do not want long lines to form outside that would interfere with their regular business operations or compromise your safety.
How long does it take?
It is difficult to say exactly how long it will take given the walk-in system used. Each clinic night varies depending on the number of patients, the severity of the care needed, and any additional services that may be required.
It is best to count on being at the clinic for the duration, which could be upwards of 3 hours from start to finish.
YOUR PATIENCE AND COOPERATION IS GREATLY APPRECIATED.
Planning ahead by bringing a book, crossword puzzles, Sudoku, knitting or other appropriate things to do is helpful and encouraged to occupy your waiting time.
Please note: A numbering system is used for identification purposes to allow for patient confidentiality and for tracking the total numbers assigned. It is not an indication of the order in which you will be seen, but rather assurance of having a spot.
What information do I need to bring with me?
We recommend that you:
What happens after I get assigned a number to see a Health Care Provider?
- Are informed of your family health history.
- Bring any recent medical test results or medical records you may have.
- Bring a list of the current medications you are taking, or have been prescribed.
- Denial letters for eligibility of programs or benefits such as disability, medical assistance or BadgerCare.
- Patience and understanding! In addition to the 25 patients that are seeing health care providers each clinic night, an additional 30-40 patients pick up refill medications previously prescribed by the Free Clinic.
- Bring proof of household income - some services require verification of information.
Generally, the following steps occur:
- After you have been assigned a number you will meet with a patient pre-screener to discuss eligibility and reason for your visit. (Efforts will be made to connect anyone not eligible for services to alternative resources to the best of our abilities).
- Once pre-screening is completed you will be escorted to the area in the Vibrant Health Family Clinic that is used for the Free Clinic. Your paperwork will be processed and assigned to the appropriate personal.
- If you are a new patient you will meet with an intake worker to further discuss your eligibility and demographics such as household composition, employment status and income levels. The intake worker is also able to provide information to you pertaining to programs and services throughout the community that may useful to you. Our intake workers are trained, knowledgeable and eager to help you get connected.
- Please use them as a resource for additional services.
- If you are a returning patient you may be due for a 6 month intake review.
- After completing the intake process, you will be roomed by a nurse. At this time the nurse will take your vitals and discuss your health history, medications and presenting health concerns with you.
- You will then be seen by one of our health care providers. Your situation will be reviewed and further discussed with you to determine the level of care that is needed that falls within the scope of the Free Clinic services.
If medications are prescribed they will be filled from the on-site medication dispensary by one of our pharmacists. You will be provided patient education including dosing instructions and drug related information for the medication(s) that have been prescribed. The pharmacist will gladly answer any question you may have.
Some medications are available through the Patient Assistance Program (P.A.P.) and you may be directed to meet with the P.A.P. team to provide you with assistance in completing the required paperwork.
Note: It is important to recognize there are limitations of services and medications and every effort will be made to provide care to the fullest extent possible.
I have questions about medications~
Can I bring in a prescription that I got from another doctor and get filled at the Free Clinic?
Medications dispensed through the Free Clinic must be prescribed by a Free Clinic Health Care Provider. We do not accept prescriptions that are under the care of a physician outside of the Free Clinic team. However, when seeing a Free Clinic Health Care Provider your medications will be reviewed and a determination will be made if they are ones available through the Free Clinic.
Can I get a prescription written for a medication that is not available through the Free Clinic and take it to a local pharmacy to have filled?
The Free Clinic Health Care Providers do not have the authorization to write prescriptions outside of the Free Clinic.
Can I get pain medications from the Free Clinic?
Ibuprofen is the strongest medication available through the Free Clinic. We do not have medications that are classified as controlled substance. This includes a number of medications used to treat pain, A.D.D., and complex mental health issues.
How do I call in medication refills?
Only prescriptions that have been prescribed by the Free Clinic can be called in. Before calling in a refill order, please check to make sure you:
• Have remaining refills
• Are not due for a 6 month medication review or required follow-up care
• We have made the process easy! Refills orders can be called in to the Free Clinic number at 715-307-3948. Requests for refills must be called in by Friday prior to the following Tuesday.
• Medications can be picked up on Tuesday evenings between 6:00 PM – 7:45 PM.
Please note: if you are due for a medication review, are out of remaining refills or overdue for recommended follow-up care, you will need to see a health care provider before you will be able to get your prescription refilled. You will be notified if you are unsure and this situation applies to you.
We are committed to providing high quality care, in part, by closely monitoring your medications and recommended follow up care.
What if I can’t pick up my medications during clinic hours?
You are allowed to designate a person to pick up your medications for you. We recommend sending a note giving permission for that person to pick up your medications.
What if I need to have a fasting lab?
If a fasting lab has been ordered by a Free Clinic Health Care Provider, you are able to come outside of clinic night to avoid going all day without eating. (This is especially important for those who have diabetes and need to eat at regular intervals).
Arrangements will be made in-advance with personnel from the River Falls Hospital Lab to collect your sample. It’s easy…here is how it works:
• A lab order will be placed in the hospital lab to provide collection instructions.
• You can come in for your lab work Monday thru Friday between 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM.
• Please use the Vibrant Health Family Clinic, River Falls location main entrance and follow signs to the lab area.
• Advise the lab technician at the registration desk that you are a patient of the Free Clinic and have a standing lab order. They will be able to advise a hospital lab technician that you have arrived for your lab work.
• That’s it…you are free to go and get something to eat! You do not need to wait for results.
Your results will be given to the Free Clinic Nursing Services Supervisor for review with the Medical Director. You will be notified of your results and any required follow-up instructions.
Yes! There is no better time than now to stop smoking or chewing. We understand the challenges you face to give up the habit and want to help you succeed in your effort. Please discuss this with your health care provider to find out if medication is right for you.
I want to kick the tobacco habit - can the Free Clinic help me stop smoking or chewing tobacco?
We also participate and promote the Wisconsin-based FAX to Quit program that provides personal assistance through an interactive coach, materials, and limited medications such as patches, gum and lozenges.
Are there interpreter services?
Spanish speaking interpreters are available each clinic night.
For other interpretive services, we ask that you make arrangements to bring your own interpreter due to the limitation of available resources and low volume of requests for services other than Spanish.
Who are the Health Care Providers at the Free Clinic?
The Free Clinic is fortunate to have Health Care Providers including physicians, certified physician assistances and a nurse practitioner that volunteers their time. This team of professionals practice in clinics and hospitals throughout Pierce & St. Croix Counties and we are grateful for their commitment to supporting the Free Clinic.
A BIG THANK YOU to the volunteers who support the Free Clinic. It exists because of the generosity and kind-heartedness of volunteers. The clinic is supported by 2 part time staff.