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Bergen Volunteer Medical Initiative

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Community Clinics, Health

Mission: The Mission of Bergen Volunteer Medical Initiative, Inc. is to provide free primary medical care and, where possible, referrals to free specialty care for working, low-income Bergen County residents who have no health insurance. Our Vision is to improve the health and well-being of those we serve, reduce the use of hospital emergency services, and serve as a model of improving access to healthcare through volunteerism. Our Values promote that healthcare is a right, not a privilege. We treat patients and one another with dignity, respect and compassion, and we strive to meet the highest standards of medical practice.

Results: BVMI helps to stabilize chronic conditions, reduce infectious disease and decrease emergency room visits by providing early intervention and consistent care. The availability of a nurse practitioner allows patients to schedule sick visits or consult by phone rather than going to the emergency room. In 2018, BVMI provided care to 1,400 patients in 7,800 patient visits. 65 clinical volunteers and another 60 lay volunteers provided nearly $650,000 in professional services.

Target demographics: low-income, working adults who do not have health insurance

Direct beneficiaries per year: 1,400 patients in over 7,800 patient visits

Geographic areas served: Bergen County, NJ

Programs: BVMI provides free primary healthcare by utilizing volunteer doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers, dietitians and others.

Community Stories

74 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering at BVMI for seven years since it opened its doors. The doctors, nurses, other healthcare professionals, and many lay office staff like myself come to help people who are in desperate need of medical care and don't have health insurance or the means to pay a private doctor. These are people who live and work in our communities and in our homes. The BVMI staff are professional and caring people; the BVMI patients are so grateful for the personalized care they receive. We all benefit -- we as individuals, and we as a society.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Not that I was looking for a job, but I have always liked helping people, whether it is finding nutmeg in the spice isle for someone or brightening someone's day.

I saw a "help wanted" ad in the newspaper, looking for doctors and nurses to volunteer their free time at BVMI. Upon seeing this very ad, I called saying that I was good letter folder/envelope stuffer, and with that being said, I have been having a great time at BVMI for over 3 years.

Sometimes, I make phone calls telling supporters what exciting events will be coming up soon, other times I help send out letters thanking people for all of the good that they have done. I have learned a lot volunteering at BVMI. For example, I have learned about keeping letters in zip code order in order to qualify for a nonprofit rate at the post office.

Thank you, BVMI, for getting me out of my home and helping make me feel useful.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a retired medical specialist, it has been a honor as well as a great personal pleasure to volunteer at BVMI - providing preventive, maintenance, and often urgent care, to the working poor who do not have health insurance (i.e. available health care). This is a situation that I rarely experienced in over 40 years of medical practice, prior to my retirement.

The environment at BVMI - The Culture of Caring - providing necessary healthcare in a skilled, professional, and dignified manner is of crucial importance to the well-being of our patients, their families, and the community. Being at BVMI gives me a wonderful, warm, moral feeling justifying my personal and professional role as a physician.

This is medical practice the way that I had hoped it would be, at its' moral and ethical best at BVMI.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

BVMI provides healthcare to people who do not have health insurance. Every person is treated with kindness and respect.

It's a wonderful organization, supported by amazing staff and volunteers.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

They're fantASTic!! I love them so much. I saw drASTic changes in my health, for the better. LASTly, I would recommend them to anyone, as these people are truly ASTounding!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a volunteer dermatologist at this free clinic for uninsured people of limited means. It is very gratifying to help these people who really would be otherwise deprived of any medical care. This is a great organization for helping those who "fall through the cracks" of our American health care system.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am both a volunteer physician and financial supporter of BVMI because this is truly a special organization. The medical care provided at BVMI is top notch, but beyond that, the culture of caring and compassion benefits all involved, patients and practitioners alike.
I am thankful for BVMI and all of the staff and behind-the-scenes work that allows me to show up to work and be the best doctor I can be, more than that actually, I thank BVMI for giving me the opportunity to be a better person.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered at BVMI since 2010 when I graduated from nursing school. In all those years, I have felt like I belong to something really, really good. It sounds so simple, and it is: give the best care possible, to those who need it most, by those who do it best.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a nurse practitioner, and I started to volunteer when BVMI initially opened in 2009. The goals of BVMI are to provide much needed health care and wellness promotion to those who need it most in our community. It always amazes me that this organization runs so proficiently, and with empathy for the clients, in the most professional ways possible. I am proud to be associated with BVMI; they help me to be a better person, and to do the right thing for our community.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am consistently amazed at the results seen at BVMI. Patients are so grateful for the services provided. The setting is inviting and respectful and the appreciative feedback from those served is best evidence of why this organization so great to support.
The people who work at BVMI are such caring and supportive individuals. Its also amazing to see how cohesive the group is.
I personally am very rewarded from this opportunity. After working in the health insurance industry for so many years, in a role with little contact with the people who receive the services, its a pleasure to see very first hand how the services provided are making a difference in peoples' lives. In the work that I do to help raise the funding needed to support BVMI's ability to serve the community, I am very rewarded and grateful to be associated with such a dedicated group of individuals who are truly making a difference in the lives of the community..

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer I see first hand the dedication of the medical and support staff, most who volunteer their time, as they care for patients. These professionals work tirelessly to care for and arrange care from specialists and area hospitals so that affordable and appropriate care can be provided. I am responsible for preparing information to support quality assessments and to demonstrate results and outcomes from the services provided. This information is necessary to request funding from grants since BVMI operates solely on fundraising. I have the privilege to see the data that demonstrates how BVMI makes a difference in people's lives. I am privileged to work with so many caring people and to be rewarded ,for helping them make a difference.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

BVMI is a friendly, professional healthcare organization that prioritizes its patients' needs and focuses on disease prevention and management. The community of Bergen County is fortunate to have such an effective, competent and adaptable nonprofit to help improve residents' standard of life. I am always happy to volunteer with BVMI because their team is passionate and forward-thinking. Primary care, chronic condition management and disease prevention/screening are vital but often absent for individuals with no health insurance coverage. BVMI works to improve individual health, reduce unnecessary stress on the county's emergency departments and promote healthy living for all. It's truly a great nonprofit!

Alice54

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I signed up to be a volunteer nurse at least six months before BVMI officially opened. Not sure what to expect, I was very happy to see first hand the compassionate care provided by everyone from the staff at the front desk to the lab technicians to the nurses and practitioners, as well as the non-clinical volunteers. Patients were professionally and warmly welcomed, examined and treated with respect, and assisted with future appointments. Nobody was rushed through the process. I continue to support and volunteer at BVMI because the staff and volunteers respect each other and patients continue to be cared for in a caring manner. Everybody who is involved with BVMI is there because they want to make a difference and improve the lives of those with limited access to health care. When I read about the lives that have been changed because of BVMI, I am proud to be a small part of what happens.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

BVMI is a hidden gem of medical care for a very needy population. Patients get care from dedicated professionals - a few paid staff but mostly volunteer professionals. My service as a volunteer provides the opportunity while retired, to continue using my education and the skills I acquired while working for 36 years at a nearby major medical center. Unlike work in the hospital, I see patients before they have developed acute problems and by educating them on healthy eating, I am able to help them prevent hospitalization. The care given at BVMI places a strong emphasis on healthy living and prevention of the complications of major diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer. As we help people control risk factors and improve their health, both they and society at large benefit. Our patients are very appreciative of the care they get and their expressions of thanks makes my work rewarding.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It is great to work for an organization providing medical care to working people who don't have insurance, and have significant health issues. This is an unmet need, that BVMI is dedicated to providing for.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Everyone should have basic health care which includes regular blood tests, mammograms, diabetes screening, prostate exams and others. They should also be able to get treatment and follow up when necessary. Most people have insurance for this, but, some working people, for one reason or another, are unable to get insurance. BVMI provides services to these people at no cost. Discovering health problems early makes treatment more effective and reduces emergency room visits which are expensive for the government.

Lynn118

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Every patient is treated with dignity and respect as if they were a member of the family. The care is not rushed and all efforts are made to help the patient afford the treatment plan or find deep discounts. There is a great effort made to work within the patient's cultural system of values and interpreters are always available to the clinician/patient interaction.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

In my former role as a community affairs manager for a major corporation, I've been blessed to work with hundreds of nonprofits. Before long, it gets easy to figure out which ones really stand out when it comes to living their mission. BVMI is that outstanding nonprofit. They have it all: seasoned medical expertise, patients who rave about the care they receive, passionate volunteers and top quality leadership.

The first time I walked into the waiting room at their clinic and talked with staff, volunteers and patients, I was on my way to becoming a fan. Everyone at BVMI cares. A lot. And the patients know it and feel it.

People "get better" at BVMI, physically and emotionally. So it's an honor to help them share their challenges and successes through various communications. They have wonderful stories to tell. The donations they receive (dollars, equipment, services and more) are put to good use, and that's something their supporters and volunteers need to know.

Board Member

Rating: 5

BVMI - the most helper !! I'd to joint and help work as a volunteer

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

BVMI is a first rate out patient medical facility that provides outstanding care to patients that qualify to be treated there. As one of the volunteer physicians working at the facility I can attest to the dedication that the entire nursing staff has. Every one associated with BVMI has a strong desire to help our patients.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am honored to be able to endorse such great mission. BVMI is successfully helping our community by providing medical services and education to their patients regardless the ability to pay for. This contribution means lot to our community. Healthy community equals to happy and strong community. BVMI is worthy of our support and personal involvement. Keep going BVMI.

JV

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a twice a week records scanner, I am extremely impressed by the genuine caring attitude of the front desk staff, the volunteer nurses, the phlebotomists and the administration. They go out of their way to make the patients feel welcome and in a friendly, concerned environment. They go the extra mile to make follow-up appointments, specialist appointments, and diagnostic hospital procedures to fit the time and work schedules of the patients. The looks of sincere appreciation on faces of the people after their appointments makes me feel proud to be a small part of this organization.

1 Barry20

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been volunteering at BVMI since January 2012 when I retired from my own practice. It's been a great experience to work with a highly intelligent staff of nurses, nurse practitioners, doctors and dedicated support staff. The patients are all working but don't get insurance thru their jobs and can't afford it on their own. They are universally compliant and most appreciative of the care they receive. It is well run, serves a real need and is certainly one of the best non-profit organizations I've been associated with. (Barry B. Galton, MD)

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Imagine a medical clinic, where a heartfelt group of volunteer doctors, nurses, technicians, administrative professionals and business leaders come together to offer free healthcare and critically important advice to their working neighbors in Bergen County who can not afford medical insurance. Meet the extraordinary people who I have come to know, respect and have the honor and privilege to work with at BVMI.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer registered dietitian at BVMI, I can’t praise this organization enough. It is my role to provide nutritional counseling to clients. Many of them are among the millions of people with obesity, pre-diabetes and diabetes – conditions which, left untreated, would have devastating affects on the their future health as well as costing this country exorbitant amounts of money. I am part of a dedicated team that provides more counseling to these clients than they would get at a private doctor's office. We are helping a segment of the public who might be going without adequate medical care if they could not come to BVMI. By initiating nutrition care with this population early, we can help prevent future problems.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

The need was so great and the idea of BVMI, a free medical center here in Bergen County was so compelling, that we had no difficulty getting community, hospital and health care professional support. In the six years that we have been open we have treated thousands of people and treated many undiagnosed conditions, resulting in decreased use of emergency rooms, improved public health, and many happy and grateful families. The atmosphere in the medical center is happy because the volunteer nurses, nurse practitioners and physicians, WANT to be there, and in so doing, their lives have never been the same.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As healthcare cost and insurance premium are skyrocketing, BVMI is a "Place of Hope" for the poor working-class people in the Bergen County, who are struggling to make ends meet. Value-based care and quality support freely delivered by a group of healthcare professionals at BVMI cannot be explained in words. You should experience the dedication and commitment of this organization to know its greatness!
My best wishes and prayers for the great mission of BVMI.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My time at BVMI has always been invaluable experience for me. Seeing the appreciation for your work in our patients' eyes make you feel rewarded. It is excellent medical facility for medically indigent people of Bergen County. I have heard so many patients saying that they feel very lucky to have BVMI providing them excellent medical care free of charge. I feel part of the BVMI family and will stay so for my whole life serving my community.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

BVMI has a wonderful mission in providing health care for those who are often overlooked--the working class who fall between the cracks. The organization has attracted devoted volunteer nurses, physicians, and other professionals to provide high quality care at a fraction of the cost of traditional care. Only 6 years in operation, BVMI has established itself as a very effective and professional organization.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

BVMI offers a comprehensive medical home for it's patients. Services are offered in a dignified, caring, friendly and nonthreatening manner.

The staff work to encourage recipients to become partners in their wellness outcomes.

It is a great place to work as volunteer nurse since all staff and volunteers are very supportive!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was introduced to Bergen Volunteer Medical Initiative (BVMI) in 2009. I was asked to be a volunteer women's health nurse practitioner for a population of vulnerable patients who were uninsured and were without health care for many years, in most cases. After almost 6 years of practice at BVMI, I must say it has been a most rewarding experience, not only taking care of patients, but also, working with the dedicated staff consisting of physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers, certified diabetic educators, nutritionists, competent office and administrative staff and beyond. In this "Culture of Caring", patients are treated with the utmost respect and caring beyond the scheduled office visit. Consistent follow-up with patients has been instrumental in patient compliance with their treatment plan as well as a strong focus on health promotion and disease prevention. Patient satisfaction is high and provider satisfaction is high. We have grown over the past 6 years and continue to strive for excellence in health care including the development of ongoing health care programs and research. Dr. Kathleen Fagan

1 Randi P.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This charity provides free medical care for working poor in Bergen County, New Jersey. Although I have no medical background, I have been able to volunteer my time as a scanner, so that the office is a paperless one. In addition, due to my proficiency with the computer, I have been given the role of training all new staff in the Electronic Medical Records. This gives me the opportunity to get to meet all new staff. They range from people helping to scribe while they await a residency placement, to people with active professional careers looking to add some volunteer service, to retirees that may not be ready to stop practicing medicine. All patients are treated with courtesy and dignity. It is particularly rewarding for me to know that I am helping others within my own community. The atmosphere is a happy one, because everyone is there because they want to be, not because they have to be. I truly look forward to going in every week.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer/employee with BVMI since 2012. BVMI is a primary health care office which is modeled on the Volunteers in Medicine concept--primary health care is offered to patients who do not have health insurance by physicians, nurse practitioners and nurses who are not paid for their services. A small paid staff keeps the office running on a daily basis and raises private monies, as BVMI does not receive one single cent from the local, state or federal government. Patients are welcomed with open arms and cared for as lovingly as one would care for a family member. The entire office staff and volunteers suffuse BVMI with love and caring for those neighbors who have fallen between the cracks, in terms of their inability to access primary healthcare services.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

THis is an amazing organization providing health care to participants who have a job but without insurance benefits. The staff is knowledgeable and goes well beyond to make sure patients get excellent medical care. Staff is concerned with every medical and sometimes socioeconomic issue the patients have.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

BVMI provides outstanding healthcare by a team of dedicated staff and volunteers. It does so with cultural sensitivity and individualized attention to its diverse roster of patients.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteered here for a couple years as a RN. Staff and volunteers are extremely helpful, compassionate, and knowledgeable. Patients love their experience with BVMI. Almost wish I could be seen by the providers there!