When we started the San Francisco Free Clinic, we worked hard to garner support from the entire medical community in San Francisco, using the philosophy of asking just a little from a lot of folks, trying never to overburden people, and making it as easy as possible for people to help out.
All the staff at the clinic—whether they work in the front or back office—are involved in some way in direct patient care. We try to keep non-clinical administrative costs at a minimum to leverage each dollar SFFC receives to provide actual patient care.
The first part of our mission is to provide care to the uninsured. The other equally important part of our mission is to help advance the field of primary care through education.
Focus on Education
Our clinic is set up to educate on multiple levels—from the middle-school students volunteering for community service, to the pre-nursing and pre-medical students who help in our back office, to the medical students and residents who have the primary responsibility for patient care.
While we have a core clinical staff to help maintain continuity of care, all staff—from front desk personnel to medical assistants to physicians—understand that we are fundamentally a teaching clinic.
We are proud that so many of our interns and students have gone on to become nurses, physicians, and other healthcare providers. We have even had teenagers volunteer for us in high school, then return for a medical school rotation, and then return again as resident physicians.
We are especially proud that our medical student rotation consistently receives excellent reviews. At times, we have had so many more requests than available slots, we have had to use a lottery to fill positions.