The American Medical Association (AMA) encourages physicians to provide free services to the poor as part of the AMA Code of Medical Ethics. Charity care is cornerstone to efforts addressing the healthcare needs of the uninsured. Because of varying levels of uninsurance, differences in the availability of services through subsidized safety net providers and differences in how well various services are covered through insurance mechanisms, community leaders identify the need and initiate grass-roots efforts to serve the underserved through free medical clinics.
Founded in 1994 by Dr. James Blessman, FCI has supported the efforts of free clinics for more than fifteen years. With the success of an initial free clinic in Polk City, Dr. Blessman and the Board of Directors developed a template to assist other interested communities in building their own free medical clinics. Through the years, more clinics have emerged and FCI services have expanded in response. In 2001, Dr. Jim and Beth Blessman formed Blessman Ministries. Today, Dr. Blessman remains part of the FCI organization through a Board Member Emeritus position.