PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A clinic that provides free healthcare to hundreds in Portland will stay open, thanks to the generosity of the community.

There were concerns that the Portland Community Free Clinic would have to close after Mercy Hospital announced that it could no longer afford to pay for the clinic. Mercy had been the clinic's partner for nearly twenty years, and the clinic was faced with looking for nearly a hundred thousand dollars a year to provide the services.

About 90% of the clinic's patients are people who have a job, but don't have health insurance and can't afford healthcare. The clinic reached out to the community for help, and people answered the call providing enough money to run the clinic for a year. That will give the staff the time to prepare for the changes that will come with the Affordable Health Care Act.

"We're all very optimistic, and we hope the Affordable Care Act will be a great thing for everybody, but it's not going to happen at the stroke of midnight on December 31st," Clinical Services Program Manager Caroline Teschke said. "There are systems that need to be put into place and policies that need to be developed and commitments that need before it will be effective."

The clinic plans to get funding in the future is by forming a group called the Friends of the Free Clinic. The group will pursue non-profit status and then raise money out in the community.

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