What is provided at the Al Hirschfeld Free Health Clinic?
The Al Hirschfeld Free Health Clinic provides free health care to uninsured and underinsured entertainment professionals in the New York City area. The Clinic provides primary and specialty care, screenings and health education. In collaboration with the Department of Family Medicine of Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital, the Clinic is open five days a week and has a physician on-call service for established patients when the clinic is closed. The Hirschfeld Clinic is staffed with a full-time Family Physician, and also has on-site volunteer doctors offering a variety of specialty services.
Where is the Al Hirschfeld Clinic located?
The Clinic is located at The Dorothy Ross Friedman Residence (formerly The Aurora), 475 West 57th Street Between 9th and 10th Avenue. Located 2 blocks west of Columbus Circle the clinic is easily reached via public transportation.
What are the Clinic's hours of operation?
The Clinic is open Mondays thru Fridays from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM.
Am I eligible?
To be eligible for services at the Al Hirschfeld Free Health Clinic you must be an entertainment industry professional, uninsured or underinsured, and either have an active membership in an entertainment union or be able to provide supporting documentation of your employment in the entertainment industry.
My spouse is a member of an entertainment union. Do I qualify?
You, yourself must be an uninsured member of the entertainment community and be able to provide us with the appropriate documentation. Family members are not eligible unless they also meet eligibility criteria.
Can children be seen at the Clinic?
No, you must be 18 years of age or older to receive services at the Clinic. If your child is uninsured, they are likely to be eligible for health insurance through a program in the state in which you reside. Please either go onto The Actors Fund's Health Insurance Resources website at www.ahirc.org or call the Actors Fund at 212-221-7300 for more information.
I have health insurance. Can I still come to the Clinic?
If you have health insurance with full benefits you are not eligible for services at the Clinic. You are eligible for services at the Clinic if you are uninsured or underinsured.
What does underinsured mean?
Underinsured means that while you have an insurance policy your insurance does not provide you with access to a primary care physician for example a policy that only provides for catastrophic care. In addition if you are insured but must meet a high deductible (the amount of money that the insured would need to pay before any benefits from the health insurance policy can be used) and unable to meet it you may be able to be seen at the Clinic.
Are eligibility exceptions made? I have health insurance but I am on tour. Can I be seen at the Clinic?
Yes. If you are traveling and require services you may be seen at the Clinic. Additionally, we will provide sick visits to insured entertainment professionals who are working on entertainment projects with very restricted schedules such as actors in a current Broadway show.
What if I am still not sure if I qualify based on my insurance status or professional qualifications?
We suggest that you call our Clinic where your situation and eligibility can be discussed.
What if I do not qualify?
If you do not qualify for services at The Hirschfeld Clinic you will find information regarding low cost or sliding scale options by going to The Actors Fund's Insurance Resource Center website at www.AHIRC.org or by calling The Actors Fund at 212-221-7300.
How do I make an appointment?
To make an appointment, call (212) 489-1939 Monday through Friday from 9:30AM to 5:00PM. When calling, please be prepared to briefly discuss the nature of your medical concern, as well as your qualifications under the eligibility criteria.
Can I just walk-in?
No, the Clinic does not provide walk-in services.
What happens if I require care over the weekend?
If you are an established patient of the Clinic you may call the Clinic and listen to the message voice prompts as they instruct you how to access our on-call service.
What happens if I have an Emergency?
If you are experiencing an actual emergency you should call 911.
What do I bring with me to my first appointment?
We ask that you arrive at the Clinic 30 minutes early for your first scheduled appointment. If you are a member of a union, please bring your union card (s). If you do not belong to an entertainment union you must be able to provide us with income documentation substantiating that you are a working professional in the entertainment community. If you are 39 years old and younger, proof of employment in the entertainment industry means being able to show earnings of $3,000 per year in at least 2 out of the last 5 years. If you are ages 40 through 64 you must be able to show entertainment industry earnings of $3,000 per year in at least 3 out of the last 8 years. Acceptable documents are: Union Card, original and signed, Tax Returns stating profession as an entertainment professional must be accompanied by 1099 and W2, Pay Stubs/Contract stating profession as an entertainment professional, Printed Publications such a Playbills, Newspaper or Magazine Reviews. Qualifications will be periodically reviewed for each patient.
Who am I likely to see?
Dr. James Spears, a Family Physician, credentialed in Family Medicine and a faculty member in the Family Medicine Department of New York-Presbyterian Hospital.
Dr. Spears also serves as the Clinic's Medical Director, overseeing a variety of general practitioners and specialists who all volunteer their time to provide free medical care to the entertainment community.
What kind of care can I receive?
You will be able to be seen at the clinic for urgent or sick visits as well as wellness visits. In addition we provide gynecological services. The Clinic offers free or low-cost referrals to a wide range of specialty clinics and practitioners throughout the region when appropriate.
I know that it is called the Al Hirschfeld Free Health Clinic but how much does it really cost?
All services that you receive at the Clinic including blood-work and any medications dispensed at the Clinic are free. Really! In addition there are several physician volunteers that we may refer you to that offer their specialty services free of charge. If you are referred through our arrangement to one of the specialty clinics in the New York Presbyterian Health system, they will charge you a nominal fee to be seen. When you are at the clinic, we will clearly advise you when you are being referred to one of their specialty clinics and the fee arrangement is.
Do you provide Dental Care?
While the Clinic does not provide dental care, you will find information regarding low cost dental options by going to The Actors Fund' s Health Insurance Resource Center website at www.AHIRC.org
What if I need a prescription?
If you are seen at the Clinic and your physician prescribes medication for you, you may be able to receive it at the Clinic. The Clinic maintains a supply of medications on site and may be able to provide it to you free of charge. If a particular medication is unavailable at the Clinic your physician will write you a prescription for you to purchase at a pharmacy. Always aware of the prohibitive costs of medication, your physician will write a script for a generic alternative whenever available and medically appropriate. Most pharmaceutical companies offer Patient Assistance programs to help low income and uninsured patients get maintenance medications for free or at a minimal administrative fee. Should your physician determine that you require such a medication, the Clinic will assist you in determining your eligibility and enroll you on one of these programs.
Can I get information on health insurance at the clinic?
Yes, an onsite staff member will be able to provide you with health insurance counseling.
What if I want to cancel an appointment?
We require 24 hours advanced notice of cancellation whenever possible. Multiple last - minute cancellations or no notice will jeopardize your ability to receive care at the Clinic.
I am a patient at the Clinic and I have just been enrolled in an insurance plan. Can I continue to receive services at the Clinic?
Congratulations, having health insurance is a very important step. While you will not be able to receive ongoing services at the Clinic while you are insured, you will be able to schedule a final appointment at the Clinic where your Family Physician will review and answer any questions regarding your medical care to assist in your smooth transition to a physician in your health plan.
What additional services are offered by the Hirschfeld Clinic?
The Al Hirschfeld Free Health Clinic provides ongoing information on wellness issues for the entertainment professional. In addition to medical services, The Al Hirschfeld Free Health Clinic, along with The Actors Fund's Artists Health Insurance Resource Center www.ahirc.org provides onsite health insurance counseling and assistance enrolling qualified patients onto Pharmaceutical Drug Assistance Programs. The Clinic works closely with all the social service programs offered by The Actors' Fund providing their patients with a comprehensive understanding of and integration into all programs from which the patient may benefit. The Hirschfeld Clinic also offers resource information for services and programs not available at the Clinic or The Actors Fund. During the year, health fairs are provided in partnership with Better Wellness and You (BWAY). In collaboration with Project Renewal Scan Van, free mammogram services are available monthly at the Clinic. The Hirschfeld Clinic sponsors an annual free flu shot event for the entire entertainment community.
Why should I get health insurance when I am able to receive free care at the Clinic?
Free clinics are helpful for basic care and urgent care, but they are not equipped for all necessary types of testing, specialist care and surgical procedures. If you are diagnosed with a condition that requires surgery or expensive medical tests you will be responsible for the cost of your care. Even if you receive minor surgery, it may cost you several thousand dollars. Despite the numerous resources available at the Hirschfeld Clinic, it cannot provide all the health services you may need.
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