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Doc of the Year: Award Comes with Responsibility

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, August 14, 2013

"That is what we did. We started seeing patients. I said I am not worried about the donations. They will come once they see what we are doing and that is exactly what happened," he says. "Nobody wants to contribute any money for an idea. You have to have something to show people that they can see that is tangible and that helps people in the community understand what you are about and what you are trying to do."

"Until that happens," he says, "you are probably not going to be very successful with building a donor base. Besides, you don't need much to start with. In primary care you don't need much in the way of instrumentation. With a very small amount of equipment you can accomplish quite a bit."

"I went into medicine to help people"

While the efforts of Albani and other community activists in Youngstown are unquestionably noble, is it realistic or fair to have a healthcare delivery system that relies upon a small group of volunteers sacrificing a sizeable chunk of their lives in the service of others?

"There is a subset of people who have fundamental problems with the concept of the free clinic to begin with," Albani says. "The feeling is that everyone should have to pay for what they get. I don't believe in doing charity work and that our government needs to set up a system that will cover these people instead of us having to do it for free. The government is living off of our backs."

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