Generous residents save Ross Clinic

More than 200 people stepped forward to help save Carson City's only free medical clinic from closing.

Pledges to the Ross Medical Clinic exceed $40,000, according to Friends In Service Helping director Monte Fast.

"This has really been an experience," e said. "Because of this we are going to sign a lease for 2 1/2 years on the clinic. We were able to do this because of the marvelous response by people from Gardnerville, Lyon County, Minden, Reno and mostly Carson City to our appeal for the Angel Program."

The charity has collected more than half the money pledged to the clinic.

"We have collected $23,116 toward our need of about $31,000," Fast said. "With something like this, you expect to have one-12th of the pledges paid then you can sign a lease. But to have 50 percent is remarkable."

Gifts to the clinic ranged from $1,000 donations to people just donating what they can pay.

"This one 87-year-old woman came into the office and gave us a $20 bill and said, 'I want to give $20 for the rest of my life.' With that kind of response, I have no choice, I have to keep the clinic open."

The clinic's survival came into question in mid-May when the foundation that paid its rent, insurance and utilities for the past five years said it will no longer be able to help.

"The foundation was not in a position to continue supporting the clinic," Fast said. "Then we were in a position where we had to come up with the rent, overhead, insurance, utilities and cost of operations."

Fast started seeking donors, and within weeks, people were pouring in with pledges and cash.

"The phones were ringing off the hook," he said. "We wanted to see if the citizens wanted that kind of medical facility, and the answer is pretty clear."

Fast said some of the money after the clinic is secure will go to the Consuelo Farmer Prescription Fund to help pay for prescriptions. Many of the prescriptions at the clinic are free samples obtained by local physicians. However, there is some need for paid prescriptions, which the fund would pay for.

The clinic is named after Dr. Charles Ross, who, in 1997, started seeing poor patients at FISH every Friday. Ross died a year later, and one of his patients, an anonymous wealthy businessman, provided the money to lease the clinic's Long Street location and remodel it.

Ross Medical Clinic services 265 people a month who might not otherwise be able to afford medical treatment.

Fast said some additional volunteer doctors would be the icing on the cake for the clinic.

"We could double our count," he said. "We have insurance and no financial stuff to worry about. There is no cash register and no accounts receivable, and that's how the staff likes it."


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