By: Sarah Snyder
MIDLAND - Hospital officials and clinics all over the Basin are swamped with people wanting to be tested for the flu. But they say if you don't have flu-like symptoms, don't show up. One of the biggest problems for E.R.'s and clinics right now is people who need to be tested but just can't afford it.
"They're anxious," Flora Hale, Director of Nursing at Midland Community Healthcare, said. "They may be angry, they're afraid. There's a lot of emotions involved when you come into a clinic and you have a need and you don't have the money. A feeling of helplessness."
Flora works with the nursing staff at each of the Midland Community Healthcare clinics. She tells NewsWest 9, there's a growing number of Midlanders who walk in with an illness and have no insurance. Now with the number of swine flu cases on the rise - clinic officials say it's causing quite a stir.
"There's been a lot of requests for tests from folks that are otherwise healthy," Michael Austin, PhD., with Midland Community Healthcare Clinics, said. "There's a lot of inquiries and anxiety over this. This virus is a pretty scary thing."
The clinics are funded through Medicare, Medicaid, and co-pays from patients. The most important thing clinic officials want families to know is they're here to help.
"One thing that's important to remember is that we're here to help people that don't have insurance or don't have enough insurance," Austin said. "We're here to offer services regardless of an individual's ability to pay."
They say if you don't have insurance and you need help with medical bills - sign up for help now at the patient assistance office. They'll help you fill out the paperwork to get medical aid.
"Go through the process of getting qualified for one of these programs," Austin said. "You might not need it right now, but in the Fall, if we have a pretty rough flu season, or if this comes back in a big way, at least that will be out of the way and it will be a lot easier to get an individual in to see a doctor."