The VIM national office is a trusted resource for free clinics who want to adopt the Volunteers in Medicine model. For startups, VIM national provides invaluable assistance in establishing a clinic. For more mature organizations, the national VIM office provides a means of sharing information and resources, a sounding board and a source of funding from large, national organizations. This shift to also providing resources and support for established clinics is recent - and very welcome! VIM National makes it that much easier for free clinics to meet their mission of making high-quality healthcare accessible to those who need it.
The list-serve established for VIM clinics is our go to place to connect with other VIMs to see how they handle the problems commom to all free clinics. It's a great resource for us and we are proud to be a VIM clinic.
The Heart of Virginia began it's journey towards opening a free medical clinic back in 2009. Our area is one of the poorest and least served in all of Virginia. I found Volunteers in Medicine doing a Google search, how to start a free clinic. I called and the folks at VIM have done a fantastic job helping us accomplish this mission. We were given step by step instruction and all the resources needed at no cost to us. Our clinic never would have been without VIM. We are the only VIM clinic is VA. HOVFC opened and began seeing patients in 2012. It was a long and sometimes not too easy process but with VIM's expertise, it all became possible.
Thank you, Carolyn for posting a comment.
In 2008, we were exploring the possibilities of expanding a local free clinic, Christian Nursing Service, to better serve our community. We had no physician, a poor facility, and no apparent opportunities. We visited the Volunteers in Medicine Clinic of Bartholomew County and were impressed. We saw a path to developing a clinic for the uninsured in Montgomery County. We contacted Volunteers in Medicine and in 2010, Marjorie Hamrell became our advisor. She visited that fall and talked to the community about Volunteers in Medicine. Later, a group from the Columbus VIM clinic also came and talked to our local physicians and nurses about VIM and about their clinic. At the time, I was President of our Board, a real neophyte in healthcare. Marjorie became my guide and through weekly phone calls and several hundred email messages, she helped us formulate policies and plans for the future.
In 2011, we received a $900,000 3:1 challenge grant from North Central Health Service (NCHS) in Lafayette, In. We raised the additional 300,000 from the community in less than 6 months and started construction of our new clinic in the fall of 2012. On Monday, August 26, we saw our first patients in the Dr. Mary Ludwig Free Clinic.
Through our association with VIM, we also received a grant from American Academy of Family Physicians to purchase medical examination tables.
In 2012, I stepped down as President of the Board and became the first Executive Director of Montgomery County Free Clinic, Inc. So I am writing this as the Executive Director, but, I continue to be the primary contact with Marjorie. VIM provided us a viable model for a free clinic that focused on the patient; provided the necessary organizational support to focus our work; and linked us with other VIM clinics whio provided help. You can read more about our clinic at http://mcfreeclinic.org.
In 1998, I was watching the television show, Hardball with Chris Matthews and saw an interview with John Kasich. Kasich was talking about his book, Courage is Contagious. The book was about ordinary people doing extraordinary things in their community. One of these people was Dr. Jack McConnell, who created Volunteers in Medicine and formed a fabulous free clinic in Hilton Head. I was so impressed that I called Dr. McConnell and scheduled a trip to Hilton Head to see firsthand what he was doing.
I fell in love with this program. I saw with my own eyes people helping others who had no health insurance or funding streams to provide for their medical care. I was surprised that all services were free and these friends and neighbors were being treated with dignity and respect. I have subsequently joined the board of Volunteers in Medicine and serve as its Vice Chair. On November 2010, I used the Volunteers in Medicine model to open Clinic by the Bay in San Francisco. I currently serve on the board as Vice President.
I am actively involved in numerous boards and commissions, but there is none I am more proud of than Volunteers in Medicine and Clinic by the Bay. Their credo below says it all.
May we have eyes to see those who are rendered invisible and excluded; Open arms and hearts to reach out and include them; Healing hands to touch their lives with love; And in the process heal ourselves.
The People's City Mission Free Clinic opened it doors in July of 2009, in this short time we have grown to be one of the largest free clinics in the Nation, seeing 16,000 patient visits in 2012 and our growth continues. Volunteers in Medicine was a great help to us when we were in the planning stages of our clinic and they continue to be a valuable resource that we count on daily. I cant say enough about this organization, they were there for us every step of the way and when we hit road blocks they helped us see a way around. Anyone looking to open a free clinic needs to talk with these folks and learn from their experience and take advantage of the resources they have put together to help clinics operate.
Volunteers in Medicine was right there with us from our beginning to even think about opening a free clinic. They gave us encouragement, support and suggestions every step of the way and have been a valuable resource to us as our clinic grows. We are currently seeing about 15,000 patient visits per year and without Volunteers in Medicine and their many resources, we not be able to do it. Thank you and many Blessings to Volunteers in Medicine, you have definately made my job much easier. Steve Uetrecht, Practice Manager, The People's City Mission Free Medical Clinic, Lincoln, NE
Southeast Indiana Health Center recently opend their doors on June 4, 2013 and this would not have been possible without VIM. When we began to investigate offerring medical services to those in need, we found VIM. We wanted a sound model to follow. We wanted our center to be a place where pople were comforatble coming. VIM was just the model we were looking for. We affliated with VIM and they have been a valuable resource. VIM has been onsite and has been avaialble with monthly conference calls. They have provided guidance, support, suggestions and has been able to come to our aid whenever needed. There resources saved us a great deal of time and energy. They also encourage our own individuality and promoted us developing the clinic that met our community needs.
Our free clinic just opened in March, 2013. We initially contacted Volunteers in Medicine a few months prior to that. The expertise, knowledge, and resources provided by them to us were instrumental in our successful opening. Any question I had (and there were a lot!) was promptly met with an informed, helpful response. It was great to know that when something was brought up that we didn't have an answer for, we had a quick and easy place to turn. Now, with several months under our belt, we continue to have new questions and the VIM forum has continued to be a fantastic resource. Our site visit from Marge Hamrell was very instructive ; she has an extremely helpful, pleasant manner , and her years of experience were a wonderful advantage for us. Volunteers in Medicine has truly guided us to a successful clinic opening this year.
Kacey, thank you for your comment!
Although the behind-the-scenes activities of the national office cannot be possibly be missed, I would like to especially point out how wonderful Marge Hamrell, our coach has been in helping us launch Coastal VIM in New Jersey. It never ceases to amaze me how organized, kind, compassionate, thorough, and incredibly helpful she is! Shefacilitated each step of the way towards our opening day with unfailing commitment, and respect. Thank you all at the national office. And thank you to all the donors who make their invaluable work possible!
Thank you for your comment, Sonia and welcome to the VIM Alliance!
In the decade I have been on the Board of Volunteers In Medicine, I have been witness to dedication to excellence, professional standards and compassion week after week after week. Whether the energy is focused on helping patients, rebuilding a kitchen , or daunting fund raising necessities, the volunteers from all walks of life make the tiny building on Route 9 hum with skill and generosity of spirit.
Judith Coche, PhD, ABPP
Board Member, Volunteers in Medicine
Owner, The Coche Center, LLC, Rittenhouse Square and Stone Harbor, NJ
At our VIM clinic, we regularly hear "without VIM, I don't know what I would do or where I would go". Free clinics such as VIM are so vital to the woprking poor. Health Care and Health Insurance is far out of reach for the good hard working people earning too much for Medicaid but not enough to survive. It is intolerable that families should have to choose between putting food on their table or paying for medications.
As a pioneer in the field of teledermatology (remote diagnosis and treatment of skin disorders) I am pleased to offer my services to the healthcare professionals associated with VIM. The prototype that we established in the Wilkes Barre clinic will hopefully be replicated nationwide providing patients with direct access to dermatologists.
I am lucky enough to live on Hilton Head Island, the place where Volunteers in Medicine was originally conceived of and implemented. Dr. Jack McConnell retired to our community and saw a need for medical care for many in the local population who, while often employed, did not have basic medical care. In our community there is a wealth of expertise and knowledge in the medical field, derived from those who have retired here. Dr. McConnell motivated these wonderful people to donate their time to those in need. Having been in this clinic and worked with Dr. McConnell and the volunteers there, I can attest that this is a special place where those who volunteer have no agendas, but simply a passion for service. It is no wonder that this idea has grown and expanded to serve so many communities across the country. Some clinics are supported by religious organizations, some by local hospitals and some by retired medical professionals. This is a concept that bypasses political and religious agendas and simply seeks to fill a void - both for those served as well as those who volunteer to serve. The Volunteers in Medicine Institute and its staff are committed to replicating this model in as many communities that wish to embrace it. They are a highly motivated team compelled by an admirable cause that is based on a simple framework that successfully serves those who are truly in need.
Working with LVIM has been the most rewarding volunteer job of my life. After years of volunteering on various boards I have moved into a very hands-on job at LVIM and work directly with patients. Between interacting with patients, working with the staff and dealing with drug companies there is never a dull moment. It is always good to leave at the end of the day feeling your time has been well spent and you have actually made a difference in people's lives.
Vim-Jax is a beehive of activity. It’s an exciting place to be. I myself have watched from the inside as this amazingly efficient organization has evolved from a small clinic to a complex operation.
When I walk in a little before 1:00 on a Tuesday (my usual time to work there), even though I am arriving at a non-peak time, there is nonetheless quite a bit of activity. In a small room off the waiting area, a woman sits in front of a computer, a file open before her, the telephone receiver to her ear. She is there every Tuesday making certain that upcoming patients still meet the clinic’s financial and employment requirements. In the front office a volunteer is tidying up charts from the morning’s patients; another is dealing with a patient who is picking up her prescriptions. A nurse squeezes into the small office needing to print a copy of the afternoon patient schedule.
I walk past the pharmacy where a volunteer pharmacist, a pile of charts beside her, is filling prescriptions. Tucked away upstairs, yet another volunteer sits at a piled desk pouring over the data she needs for the grant she is writing.
Back downstairs, the phones begin to ring, the patients sign in, charts begin to move. Across the hall, two young women begin readying the charts for the next day’s patients. Volunteers leave, replaced by others, each with very specialized tasks. Somehow, this medical beehive functions, each individual performing his specific job and then moving on.
Who, I often wonder, would not want to be a part of such a dynamic force as this.
-written by Sharon at VIM-JAX
I was blessed with being able to retire on the early side but was worried I would miss being active in my beloved profession. Frankly, the fight with 3rd party payors, administrative burdens, and mounting frustrations created what I now recognize as burnout. VIM (Volunteers in Medicine) in Hilton Head Island, SC, my chosen retirement destination fulfilled, all my criteria for a happy retirement and I now realized twelve years later, practicing there on a regular basis was one of my life's best decisions! Such volunteerism became an attractant and an enabler of an early retirement. Charles P. Duvall MD MACP
I was shown the need and with another physician have founded a VIM (Barrier Island Free Medical Clinic) clinic to serve the working poor on Johns and adjacent islands in SC.With Divine Guidance and the generous support of our professionals and our community ,we have been able to see over 14,000 patient visits and have 2,550 patients who call us their " medical home"(in the first 41/2 years). We have partnered with Roper/St Francis Hospital System of Charleston which benefits all. After 30 years of surgical practice nothing has given me more gratification .
Arthur, thank you for your comment.
BVMI has been up and running for 2 1/2 years, and we are now seeing patients 5 days a week, about 5,000 visits a year. There is no doubt about the "joy" expressed by John McConnel MD that both we and the patients experience. What is remarkable is how attractive the VIM concept is to all who volunteer and by those who are employed. Furthermore, as the original founder, I find I am no longer needed, as all involved have incor-porated the mission within themselves; except for fundraising, BVMI is self sustaining. Our goal should be one VIM in every county in every state.
Volunteering as a clinical and triage RN with VIM-Jacksonville is categorized as the most rewarding role within my 34 years of nursing. The patients are appreciative and acknowledge the excellent level of free medical care they receive. The Medical Community in Jacksonville have shown remarkable insight as they make major contributions to this worthy non-profit. This demonstrates their knowledge of the effectiveness of the VIM mission, and the follow through of the daily operations. All volunteers are treated with respect and thankfulness for whatever talents they bring to the Clinic. This opportunity to volunteer at VIM-Jacksonville, is more rewarding to me, than I can possibly give in return.
Volunteering is the right way to spend retirement. The work that I do at the Jacksonville VIM gives me joy and self-fulfillment. Being of service to those who need help is an experience that no one can put a price on. Our patients are always appreciative of what we do for them; the staff works hard and they always make our patients know that the number one reason why we're there is to provide the best care possible for them. I am glad to be a part of this wonderful and well-managed community clinic.