In my disability law practice, the issue that most frequently presents itself regarding proving a disability is the ability to quantify the affects or severity of a condition through medical evidence. Not coincidentally, the best way to receive care for a disabling condition is also the best way to create a convincing body of evidence for use in proving a disability. Regular care from a physician, or qualified treatment source not only gives the disabled their best shot at managing or curing their conditions, but also will provide a solid and convincing record when the need to prove severity arises. Unfortunately, this is often easier said than done because medical care costs money, and of course money is required to secure medical care. For individuals receiving care from the VA, cost is often a secondary concern, but for claimants that are not geographically close to the VA, or in need of an outside opinion, cost may be a large determinant in seeking and receiving care.
The purpose of this entry is to share several resources that individuals may use to find free or low cost medical resources in their geographic area. To the best of my knowledge, I do not have relationships with any of these physicians on this list, and make no specific endorsements of any of the caregivers, but with a few phone calls, it is my hope that individuals who need care are able to receive it from the organizations listed here. Because of the nature of free clinics, it will likely be necessary to provide evidence of financial need to their offices, and it may take several phone calls to find a clinic that not only can provide care for specific conditions, but has the capacity to see a patient in a timely manner. With that in mind, Claimants should not wait until receiving a hearing date to start seeking care. Treatment is a process, not an end goal, and should be sought during every state of the disability application process, rather than as a means to a rating.
I would also like to note that for the portion of my readers who are medical providers, I will be happy to include your practice on this free or reduced cost list if you are interested. Simply contact me through my website. Additionally, for those providers who are kind enough to treat the disabled for low or no cost, I would be happy to provide specific advice regarding your ability to receive retroactive payments through Medicaid for patients with whom you have a treating relationship. Due to the length of time involved with securing disability benefits for patients, these retroactive payments may cover a year or more of visits and treatment.
Without further ado, here are some websites where a prospective patient may locate medical providers in their area who provide free or reduced cost care. Good luck, and good health to you.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resource and Service Administration – This is a website that covers the entire country, not just Georgia, and by entering an address or zip code, a prospective patient may get contact information for providers in their area.
FreeMedicalSearch.org – Another website that extends beyond Georgia, with search functionality.
Free Medical Clinics – This is the Georgia page of another list of national resources. This list is laid out city-by-city for refined searching.
Georgia Free Clinic Network – An excellent page that provides search functionality for free or reduced cost care clinics in the State of Georgia.
Atlanta Free or Low Cost Clinics – A smaller list of Atlanta, Georgia free or reduced care clinics.
Cobb County Free or Low Cost Clinics – A smaller list of Cobb County, Georgia free or reduced care clinics.
Fayette CARE Clinic – From their website, “Our Mission is to promote health and well being for Fayette County’s uninsured and working poor through compassionate medical and dental care, education, prevention, and referral, providing a gateway to other community services.”
This information is does create an attorney-client or physician-patient relationship or any kind, and is for informational purposes only. For advice regarding your specific circumstances, contact VA Disability Attorney Thomas O’Brien.