General Information

FernCare treats individuals from 19 through 64 years of age who have no health insurance of any kind, public or private and no other primary care physician. We provide maintenance care of chronic illness, do checkups, diagnose and treat acute day-to-day illness, dispense generic medications, do basic lab testing, help our patients with community resource access, have social workers available for consultations and an in-depth counseling program and offer enrollment assistance for both the Affordable Care Act Insurance Exchange and Healthy Michigan. We make some specialist referrals.

We are open 6 sessions per month:  medical clinics:  1st and 3rd Saturday morning, 9 – noon and the 2nd and 4th Thursday evening 6 – 8 pm, counseling: 2nd and 4th Wednesday evening 5:30 – 8pm.

BUT we can’t hope to offer this needed service without volunteers.  We require that all volunteers be at least 19 years of age. If you are a medical volunteer, you must have a current license or certification. We do work with students but that is on a one to one basis. The Head Nurse makes that determination because of our limited space.

FOR NON MEDICAL VOLUNTEERS
You are just as important to us! We can always use an extra pair of hands to help out at fund-raisers, help clean the clinic after each clinic session, work with us to develop and publicize our fund raisers and to write grants.
Our focus is on the clinic but it is not a secret…there is a lot of things that need to be done to keep the clinic in operation. If you are interested, please e-mail Ann at aheler@ferncare.org. We definitely can talk!

Insurance Protection

(1) Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). FTCA Medical Malpractice program (Free Clinic FTCA Program) provides immunity for medical malpractice claims to those health care practitioners and now non medical volunteers (administrative staff, Board of Directors, volunteers in non-medical capacities) that provide medical or other services on a volunteer basis in or on behalf of a free clinic. The requirements inlcude that the practitioner or staff must be sponsored by an approved Free Clinic and deemed as a federal employee of the PHS.  At FernCare, the only volunteers or staff we cover are those that agree to volunteer once a month for a year. If this is not possible, you are still covered by the Volunteer Protection Act and Michigan’s Good Samaritan Law.

(2) The Volunteer Protection Act of 1997 (VPA) at federal level.  This offers protections for any physicians or practitioners volunteering all all nonprofit health facilities.   Unlike the FTCA, the VPA does not provide that the practitioners are dismissed from the lawsuit and the federal government become the defendant.  Rather, the VPA exempts practitioners from liability in the event of a lawsuit, if the practitioner proves the VPA conditions were met.  VPA also makes it very difficult for a claimant to obtain punitive damages of obtain non-economic losses against a volunteer.

(3) Michigan’s Good Samaritan Law – MCL 333.16277.  Michigan law limits liability for health care practitioners who render non-emergency care on a voluntary basis (i.e. don’t receive compensation).  They are not liable in a civil  action for damages for acts or omissions in providing such care, unless the acts or omissions results from gross negligence or willful and wanton misconduct or were intended to injure the patient.  This limitation on liability extends to dentists, physicians, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and physician’s assistants.

(4) We also carry a general liability policy for all staff.

On the medical side of the clinic, we are always looking for Physicians, Registered Nurses, Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, Pharmacists, Pharmacist techs and lab techs.   For Counseling, we are looking for LMSWs, Professional Counselors and Psychologists. The commitment is 3- 3 1/2 hours per session. Ideally we like volunteers to be able to volunteer with us once a month. Definitely……volunteers pick their day or evening:)

And just as importantly, we are always looking for people who would like to work the data input side of the clinic.  You need to be competent in Word and Excel.  These volunteers work with Ann Heler, Board President.  This work is not done during any of the clinic sessions but during the day.  Once a week would really help.  Contact Ann at aheler@ferncare.org with any questions.

Volunteers who have submitted applications and have been contacted by a member of the Clinic Team ONLY can click here to schedule the day or days you can volunteer.

The complete 2016 – 2017 Clinic Schedule is on the “Become A Patient” page.                                                                                                           October, November and December 2017 medical clinic schedule                                                                                                                                     October 5, 14, 19, 28        medical clinics                                                                                                                                                             November 2, 11, 16, 30   Note only one Saturday clinic – Thanksgiving holiday                                                                                                December 7, 16, 21          Note only one Saturday clinic – Christmas holiday                                                                                                             Counseling schedule     2nd and 4th Wednesday                                                                                                                                                  October 11, 25                                                                                                                                                                                                               November 8, 22                                                                                                                                                                                                    December 13, 27                                                                                            

Fill out the Volunteer application (SEE below) and e-mail it with a copy of your license and photo ID to the clinic. SEE addresses below.

All volunteers are subject to Medical Director and Clinic Manager approval.

(1) Physicians, Registered Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants, medical students (physician, nurse), CNAs, Medical Assistants, EMTs: e-mail your information and application to dengate436@aol.com. Diane is our Head Nurse and can answer any questions you may have. She also does all of the medical staff scheduling.

(2) Pharmacists, pharmacist technicians, pharmacy students: e-mail your applications and a copy of your license/certification to crainey@ferncare.org .  Christine is our Pharmacy Manager and can answer any questions. She also does all of the pharmacy scheduling.

(3) Lab technicians and phlebotomists: e-mail your applications and a copy of your license/certification to slux@ferncare.org. Susan is our Lab Manager and can answer any question. She does lab scheduling.

(4) Social workers, counselors and psychologists please e-mail your application to Ann Heler at aheler@ferncare.org.

Volunteer Application