Nonprofit Free Clinic: We Were Serving Fewer People and That Was a Good Thing

January 31, 2017; Leader Telegram (Eau Clair, WI)

For some nonprofits, the “pie in the sky” goal is to help fix the system to the point that the nonprofit no longer needs to exist. When looking at healthcare providers, the same goal applies to nonprofit free clinics that make up the safety net in many communities, as they see patients regardless of insurance status or ability to pay. These organizations were one step closer to their goal with the Affordable Care Act, since a percentage of patients qualified for expanded Medicaid availability in many states, marketplace plans, or subsidies and could establish a permanent medical home. While the inevitable impending changes to the Affordable Care Act will likely have broad ranging implications for the healthcare market overall, it will have a particularly negative impact on nonprofit free clinics. Maribeth Woodford, executive director of the Chippewa Valley Free Clinic (CVFC) says, “Before the Affordable Care Act, we had more people coming through our doors than we could manage.

SCOTUS Mulls Public Education’s Responsibilities to Students with Disabilities

January 18, 2017; NPR

More than 40 years after the implementation of Public Law 94-142, the Education for all Handicapped Children Act, federal legislation ensuring that students with disabilities are provided a free and appropriate public education, the Supreme Court is being asked to specify exactly what services must be provided to make a student’s educational experience appropriate. The law is now known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA. Is the goal of IDEA to provide the bare minimum for engagement, or should every effort be made to equalize the education received by students with disabilities and their able-bodied peers? A follow-up question must be considered in conjunction: What is a reasonable amount of money for school districts to spend in the achievement of this goal? The impetus for the discussion is a case in which the parents of an autistic child found he was making little progress in the public school system and opted to send him to a private school that specializes in engaging students with autism.