Most of the crowd at Saturday's grand opening of the Crescent Community Clinic appeared to be family members of some 40 primarily Islamic physicians who are donating their professional services to the needy and uninsured in Hernando County.
Patients have been trickling in since early June, when the clinic began opening its doors every Saturday.
But on this Saturday, Martina Smith of Nobleton arrived with daughter, Leah, 11, and son, Steven, 8, to learn about the care available.
Smith said she has a good job as a network engineer in Kissimmee. Her husband has a job as a concrete worker in the slow construction trades. Neither of the jobs provide health insurance.
"We're not in medical need now," said Smith, "but you never know when an infection will come. It's $100 to walk into a walk-in clinic."
She and her children were pleased with what they saw: welcoming professionals, fresh and spotless examination rooms and medical instruments, easy access with plenty of parking in the strip mall at Broad Street and Ponce de Leon Boulevard.
The tight-knit community of Muslim doctors has long considered opening such a facility to give back to the community that has fostered them. Said the clinic's executive director, Alex Galvan, himself a convert to Islam: "Charity is one of the five pillars of Islam. It's an unwritten rule, we should help others."
A patient's only qualifications for free medical care are a lack of health insurance and living at the poverty level. (MORE)