New Publication: Legal and Operational Guide for Medical Clinics

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National Physician and Health Law Groups Team Up to Produce New Guide for Free Medical Clinics

Legal and Operational Issues for Free Medical Clinics

New Guide for Free Clinics

Local organizations often need an understanding of the legal & operational issues required for the successful building and operation of any clinic. This Guide can be a big help.

The American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA) and the American Medical Association (AMA) Foundation, in collaboration with the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, are proud to announce the release of a new and important resource that will assist health care providers and community leaders build and operate clinics in underserved communities.

The Legal and Operational Guide for Free Medical Clinics (available for download at provides guidance and basic tools for clinic organizers to effectively address the most commonly encountered questions and issues including volunteer recruitment, tax-exemption, credentialing, board obligations, fundraising, staff safety, patient privacy, insurance, and health care quality. A press kit with additional resources is available at

AHLA President Lois Dehls Cornell, when announcing the release of the publication, said: “AHLA is proud to make this resource available to the public, with the helpful collaboration of AMA Foundation. Local organizations such as medical societies, churches, and community centers often need an understanding of the numerous legal and operational issues required for the successful building and operation of any clinic. This Guide can be a big help.”

Peter A. Pavarini, AHLA’s Immediate Past President, and contributor to the development of the Guide echoed the same sentiment. “Ten years ago when I helped start the Grace Clinics of Delaware (Ohio), a resource such as this would have been incredibly valuable. It will certainly help lawyers like me to assist our communities and navigate the complexities of setting up clinics.”

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that up to 31 million Americans will still lack affordable health coverage in 2022 despite the advent of health reform under the Affordable Care Act. Clinics continue to be critical safety nets for millions of under- and uninsured individuals. While the creation of more clinics will not completely eliminate the number of under- and uninsured, they will certainly help narrow the gaps in coverage currently experienced by our most economically disadvantaged populations.

AMA Foundation President William E. Kobler, MD described the collaboration as helpful for the uninsured and beneficial for the country: “The American Medical Association Foundation is proud to collaborate with AHLA to develop this important document. There are many barriers to care access for those without insurance. Clinics provide an important avenue to help meet the medical needs of our country’s uninsured. There are also many legal issues involved in the establishment of these clinics. This document will be an invaluable resource to existing centers and will encourage and facilitate the development of new clinics. I am proud that physicians and lawyers have been able to work together to support clinics as a part of the safety-net for these vulnerable citizens.”

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About the American Health Lawyers Association - The American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA) is the nation’s largest nonpartisan educational organization devoted to legal issues in the health care field. The Association’s more than 13,500 members practice in a variety of settings in the health care community. Visit to learn more.

About the American Medical Association Foundation - The American Medical Association (AMA) Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, is dedicated to advancing public health and medical scholarship through philanthropic support of physician-directed initiatives. Please visit to learn more.

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Allison E Beard
since: 02/2009
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