Access to Health Care
Today, many working individuals in America do not have health insurance and as a result do not have access to quality health care services. Their employers may not provide coverage, or they may earn too little to buy affordable health insurance or earn too much to receive other types of public assistance. These are the “working uninsured” who, in many communities, turn to Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) clinics and other safety-net clinics for access to health care services.
Services provided in VIM Clinics
VIM clinics provide health care services free of charge. Retired and practicing medical professionals volunteer their time and expertise to give back to their neighbors, treating diseases like hypertension, diabetes, mental health issues, and obesity. Specialized services offered in many VIM clinics range from pediatrics and dentistry to ophthalmology and counseling. VIM clinics are supported by the local community and the services offered are based on the needs and resources in each community.
VIM Clinics and a Culture of Caring
VIM clinics promote a “Culture of Caring” wherein each patient and volunteer is treated with dignity and respect. It is based on an ethical standard in medicine that acknowledges that how people are treated during a clinic visit is as important as the actual medical care they receive. This approach promotes delivering quality health care in a coordinated manner within a nurturing environment.
How to Find a VIM Clinic
There are currently 95 VIM clinics is 29 states across the country. To find a VIM clinic in your area, visit the VIM Clinic Directory on the Volunteers in Medicine website. If you live in a community without a VIM clinic, the NeedyMeds clinic list can provide information on free or low cost clinics for your area.
Start a Free Clinic
Interested in developing a VIM clinic in your community? The Volunteers in Medicine national office is dedicated to assisting individuals, groups and local communities in starting a free clinic. Experienced staff at VIM are available to work with local groups throughout the development process. Visit Start a Clinic to find out what is involved.