Free Clinics Welcome Uninsured and Underinsured Patients

Thanks To a Free Clinic, Richard Got His Diabetes Under Control And Reclaimed His Life

Two years ago, Richard Helvey moved to Florida in search of a fresh start. Helvey, a 51-year-old Detroit native, landed in Largo, but without a job. Soon, he was living in his car. Diagnosed with diabetes years earlier, he could no longer afford his medications.

Now he was crippled by kidney pain, numbness in his feet, and other effects of uncontrolled diabetes. Then he discovered the private, nonprofit Clearwater Free Clinic (CFC) – just one of the Tampa Bay-area clinics that BayCare partners with to ensure that people who can’t pay for medical care get the help they need.

“We turn to BayCare, they’ve been there for us every time,” said Jan Humphreys, the long-time nurse practitioner at the CFC, though some patients respectfully call her “Dr. Jan.” “Nearly every Clearwater Free Clinic patient becomes the recipient of generously donated BayCare services.”

With their help, Helvey got his diabetes under control and reclaimed his life. These days, his smile is brighter, his shoulders straighter and his spirit joy-filled. His medical conditions are under control. In February, he got a promotion to manager of the men’s clothing store in Largo where he had been a part-time employee.

Without the Clearwater Free Clinic and BayCare, “I probably would have crawled up somewhere and died,” Helvey said. Instead, he’s counting his blessings.

Watch Richard's Story