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.