Mission: To promote and guide the development of a national network of free clinics emphasizing the use of retired medical and community volunteers within a Culture of Caring to improve access to health care for America's uninsured.
Results: There are currently 96 VIM clinics located in 29 states, providing over 400,000 patient visits to uninsured members of their communities. Over 11,500 medical and non-medical volunteers help staff the clinics and deliver the care. The national VIM office provides support services to open clinics while continuing to assist in the development of additional clinics across the country.
Geographic areas served: Volunteers in Medicine will provides assistance to community across the country.
Programs: Volunteers in Medicine is the only national nonprofit dedicated to the development of free health care clinics for the uninsured. VIM clinics depend on local leadership, community organization and sound planning for sustainability. Experienced VIM staff provide assistance and resource materials through each step of the clinic development process. A site visit is required to assess leadership potential, trouble shoot and further guide the planning process. Each local organizing committee is required to complete a feasibility study to assess the needs and resources of the community to determine the viability of a VIM clinic
VIM clinics emphasize the Culture of Caring treating each person who enters the clinic with dignity and respect. Within this culture, volunteer medical professionals are able to practice pure medicine without the business of medicine and patients are treated as friends and neighbors not a diseases or numbers.
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.