Early in 2006, a group of interested community members began discussing how to provide medical services to residents of Iowa County and surrounding areas who are uninsured and cannot afford to pay for such services and supplies.
A county-wide health assessment at that time indicated that:
- Approximately 10% of the county’s population did not have health insurance.
- The local hospital was seeing about 500 uninsured patients annually in their emergency room.
- Large gaps existed in state health assistance.
The group, representing such agencies as Southwest Community Action Program, Upland Hills Health, and the Iowa County Health Department, acted quickly to form a non-profit organization called Community Connections Free Clinic (CCFC).
CCFC opened its doors on October 17, 2006, in a 500-square-foot area at the back of the Metropolitan Building in Dodgeville. An eager volunteer staff registered and treated one patient. The next clinic evening, two patients appeared. On the third evening, there were 14. The word was out, patients responded, and the numbers have increased steadily ever since.
Space was a problem. With 12 volunteers and several patients at a time occupying the small area, there was concern about confidentiality, privacy, and respect. Again, community leaders got together and worked out a plan to expand and improve the space needed by the clinic.
In September 2009, CCFC began seeing patients in a brand new, expanded area on the lower level of the Metropolitan Building. It now had four exam rooms instead of two, and separate areas for lab, pharmacy, prescription assistance, and social care interviews.
With more space, CCFC was able to expand on-site services.
The new space is shared with the Neighborhood Health Partners, resulting in significant cost savings for both organizations.