The Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) is a national network of community-based free clinics which uses retired and practicing medical volunteers to deliver compassionate and quality health care to uninsured individuals throughout the United States. VIM is different from other clinics by utilizing these retired and practicing health professionals, community volunteers, and strong broad-based community support. VIM clinics provide general primary care, patient education programs and medications to it’s patients. Diabetes, hypertension, asthma, acute respiratory infection, depression and anxiety are the diseases most frequently treated. However, each clinic in the network is unique in that its development and services are based on the particular needs and resources of the local community.
Volunteers in Medicine was started by a nationally recognized scientist and physician, Dr. Jack McConnell founded the first Volunteers in Medicine clinic in the mid-1990s in Hilton Head, South Carolina. His model of using retired medical professionals as volunteers in the clinic and his “Culture of Caring” has been replicated across the country. The “Culture of Caring” is the heart and soul of a Volunteers in Medicine clinic. It is rooted in the ethical standard in medicine that suggests the way people are treated during a visit to a clinic is as important as the medical care they receive. The “Culture of Caring” recognizes the strengths of those in need and respects their dignity. VIM clinics seek to heal not only physical illnesses, but also the injury caused by bias, prejudice and indifference. VIM has assisted more than 100 organizing groups with the development of a clinics to serve the uninsured in their communities. While the Affordable Care Act (ACA) extended access to some, 36 million people in the United States still lack health insurance and even more have health insurance but can not afford to seek healthcare. Many of these individuals work in blue-collar and service sector jobs and consider health insurance a luxury. These uninsured and underinsured live in every city and town throughout America. For a complete list of VIM clinics visit, http://volunteersinmedicine.org/volunteers-in-medicine-clinic-directory/.