Frequently Asked Questions
What is our mission?
Our mission is to facilitate access to health care for all, with a focus on the needs of the un- and
We strive to provide access to health care based on need, not on ability to pay, where the talent
and generosity of our community come together via a variety of Ithaca Health Alliance programs.
Who do we serve?
The Ithaca Health Alliance serves everyone:
- We serve the un- and underinsured through our Free Clinic services and healthcare grants,
- We provide health education and information resources free to all, and
- We serve our community by promoting wellness, healthy living, and health affirming projects.
What kind of community health projects do we conduct?
The Ithaca Health Alliance conducts two major projects: the Ithaca Health
Fund and the Ithaca Free
Clinic (IFC). The Ithaca Health Fund is a medical assistance program that provides grants and
interest-free loans for specific medical, dental, and holistic expenses. The Ithaca Free Clinic is a
completely free, integrative medical center located in Ithaca, NY. Other projects focus on
health education and include our quarterly
newsletter, free lectures by medical
professionals and community members, as well as tabling and canvassing events.
Who is eligible for Ithaca Health Alliance membership?
Membership is available to all New York State residents.
How can I become a member of the Ithaca Health Alliance?
You can become a member of the Ithaca Health Alliance in one of four
- General Membership: General members join for a donation of just $100 a year.
General Membership for Businesses and Organizations: The Health Alliance offers special
membership incentives for businesses that enroll employees as general members or for organizations that
enroll their members as a group ($80 per person).
- Provider Memberships: Health service providers who practice any health and wellness modality may
join as provider members for a sliding scale donation of $50.00 or more. Provider members agree to offer
other Health Alliance members a standard discount of the provider's choice on professional services.
- Donated Membership: The Health Alliance gives memberships to individuals living in New York State
who cannot afford to pay a membership donation, with funds provided by private donations or sponsoring
affiliates. Through this program we ensure that our services are available to anyone in need. Please
contact us to apply for this program.
- Affiliate Membership: These sponsor members donate to the IHA in order to support the mission of
community-driven healthcare solutions. Affiliate members are ineligible for grants and loans, and
they do not vote on issues or in elections.
What are the benefits of Ithaca Health Alliance membership?
Ithaca Health Alliance membership provides you with access to an alternative healthcare program,
the Ithaca Health Fund, when insurance programs are outside your means.
We provide access to a group of provider members who offer a discount on
services to members, commonly 5-10%. Discounted services offered by Health Alliance providers range
from dental visits to macrobiotic dinners, from birthing assistance to purchases at a local bicycle shop.
Is the Ithaca Health Alliance an insurance provider?
No. The Ithaca Health Alliance is a nonprofit community health organization. Our programs inform
community members about health choices and help people to access healthcare services by offering them
for free or by making grants that help members with the costs of health care. The Health Alliance does not
provide insurance coverage.
How many people are Health Alliance members?
The Health Alliance currently has an active membership of about 700 people, with a history of having
served 2,500 members since its founding.
How do I apply for a grant from the Ithaca Health Fund?
We try to keep the application process simple. We ask that you send us copies of bills for medical or
dental services, information about the number of people in your household and your annual household
income, and any other information you think will be helpful as we evaluate these bills. The Health
Alliance evaluates grant requests weekly.
How can I get a copy of the Ithaca Health Alliance newsletter?
The quarterly newsletter is available for free on our newsletter page.
We also distribute printed copies free to the public at several places accessible to the community around
Ithaca and Tompkins County. Health Alliance members who do not provide us with an e-mail address get a
printed copy in the mail.
When is the next Health Alliance educational program?
We schedule educational events as need and opportunities arise. You can check the
online calendar or contact us to be added to the
mailing list for news about events.
Do you have to be a Health Alliance member to use the Ithaca Free Clinic?
No. Anyone without health insurance can come to IFC for care from our volunteer healthcare providers.
When is the Ithaca Free Clinic open?
We are open for walk-in medical visits on Mondays from 2-6pm, Thursdays 4-8pm, and we provide
therapeutic services, including Occupational Therapy, free acupuncture for veterans, and
pre-employment physicals by appointment, on Tuesdays. You can find us at 225 South Fulton, Suite B
(second floor), next to Agway!
What services are provided at the Ithaca Free Clinic?
The Ithaca Free Clinic, which opened its doors to the public on January 23, 2006, offers
totally free integrative health and wellness services, combining
complementary/alternative and conventional Western medicine. Our professional services are provided by our
volunteer staff of doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, chiropractors, herbalists, acupuncturists,
massage therapists, and others.
What is integrative medicine?
Integrative medicine combines the strengths of different healing practices to provide a range of
health services that promote best outcomes for each patient. Through conventional ("allopathic") and
holistic health therapies, many different health problems can be improved. Ithaca Free Clinic was the
first medically integrated Free Clinic in the United States, and it remains one of only three Free
Clinics that provide these services to people who cannot afford the luxury of visits to multiple
How can I volunteer for the Ithaca Health Alliance?
The Ithaca Health Alliance welcomes volunteers with myriad skills and interests.
The Ithaca Free Clinic offers volunteer opportunities for receptionists, discharge assistants, and
appropriately credentialed healthcare professionals. The Health Alliance welcomes those interested in
public relations, fundraising, health education, or outreach for all projects. Anyone willing to help is
always welcome to do so! You can go to our volunteer information page
for additional information or contact us at 607-330-1254!
What is the role of a Health Alliance volunteer?
Volunteers are the face of the organization in our community. For this reason, the Health Alliance
expects volunteers to be versed on what the organization has to offer or to be able to provide
appropriate referrals to people who could benefit from our services or who would be interested in
volunteering or donating to the IHA and its programs.
We expect Ithaca Health Alliance volunteers to determine the amount of time they can commit and the
degree of involvement realistic to their circumstances. It is the responsibility of the volunteer to
communicate with staff and our volunteer leadership about the level of involvement and contribution.
All committee volunteers in good standing (as defined by the committee) are granted affiliate member
status, in recognition of their donation of time to our efforts.
I want direct patient contact at the Free Clinic. How can you help me to achieve my goal?
At the Ithaca Free Clinic, patient treatment is provided only by licensed or credentialed health
professionals whose references have been verified . Because we have found it to be disruptive to Free
Clinic operations, we do not support the routine "shadowing" of our physicians or other providers.
Administrative volunteer jobs offer opportunities to help patients with registration and discharge,
and these positions do not require a license.
How are Ithaca Health Alliance programs funded?
As with many charities, we get our funding from variety of sources. The Ithaca Health Fund is
completely funded by membership donations, and is a uniquely cooperative model of healthcare cost
assistance. Health Alliance members funded the creation of Ithaca Free Clinic through 9 years worth of
savings, but today the IFC and our other projects are supported by donations from the community and
competitive grants from various foundations.
How can I support the work of the Health Alliance?
Anyone can support our work to facilitate access to health care for all in many ways. You can
volunteer for one of our projects or committees. You can send financial contributions to us using the
"Donate" button on the left of this page, or mail a check to us at Ithaca Health Alliance, PO Box 362,
Ithaca, NY 14851. You can also spread the word: tell friends, neighbors, and others about the work we
do, how we can help with their uninsured health needs, and how they, too, can support our efforts!
Is my donation to the Ithaca Health Alliance tax deductible?
The Ithaca Health Alliance has submitted an application for 501(c)(3) tax exemption, which has been
under review by the Internal Revenue Service for several years. While we await formal recognition of our
charitable status, we operate under the generous fiscal sponsorship of Social Ventures, Inc. Tax exempt
contributions can be made out to Social Ventures; please include "Ithaca Health Alliance" in the memo of
© 2007-2010 Ithaca Health Alliance
Web site design by Tigerfire Servers