Frequently Asked Questions
What is Volunteers in Medicine (VIM)?
VIM is a medical clinic that helps people who do not have health insurance. Our patients do not make enough money to pay for healthcare on their own.
What kind of people come to VIM?
Our patients include those who work as landscapers, hairdressers, dog groomers, artists, construction workers, ranchers, self-employed entrepreneurs, kitchen workers, river rafting guides, housekeepers, home health care workers, part-time employees, and students - just to name a few.
Are you accepting new patients?
Who can be a patient?
You may qualify if you:
- Are between the ages of 18 – 64.
- Do not have medical or health insurance.
- Have some income, but are still “low-income.” Your pay can be from part-time, full-time or seasonal jobs. It can also be from a student loan or unemployment.
- Live or work in Deschutes, Jefferson or Crook counties.
What does “low-income” mean?
To receive care at VIM, your income must be below 250% of the Federal Poverty Level. The Federal Poverty Level is determined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
How do I become a patient?
Call us. Dial (541) 330-9001 and press “5”. Leave a message. We will call you back and ask a few questions. If it sounds like you may qualify for our care, we will make an appointment to go over the paperwork. This appointment is called an “eligibility screening.”
Why do I have to go through an eligibility screening?
At VIM we work with just a certain group of people. These are people that don’t get medical care because they can’t afford to pay for it. We help as many people as we can, but we can’t help everyone. If you don’t qualify for VIM, we will help refer you to someone who can care for you.
Can my family get care at VIM too?
At VIM, we qualify all the adults who live in your home for care, not just you. Any person in your home, age 18 – 64, who meets our eligibility requirements may also receive care at VIM.
Do you care for children?
With few exceptions, we do not care for children 18 and under. Most likely they are eligible for care through the Oregon Health Plan (OHP).
Do you care for people over 65?
No. If you are 65 or older, you may qualify for Medicare.
What can VIM do for me?
VIM can help you get well, and stay well, until you are able to find insurance on your own. We are a “medical home.” This means we help you care for your health in many ways. We keep your medical records and look out for you. We can provide medical care and prescription medications. We also have mental health care and basic dental care. And we help you understand how to take better care of yourself.
When can I see a doctor?
First, you need to call VIM to see if you qualify for care (541) 330-9001. You will then complete an eligibility screening. After that, we will set up your first appointment.
Do I need an appointment?
Yes, you need an appointment to see a doctor. VIM is not an emergency clinic. We do not take people who just walk-in. We only care for patients once they are done with their eligibility screening. Please don’t wait until you are sick to call us. Do your eligibility screening now. Then when you need to see a doctor, we will be able to help you.
What if I need to see a doctor right away and haven’t done my eligibility screening?
If you have a medical condition that can’t wait, please go to urgent care or the emergency room.
Who works at VIM?
Active and retired medical and lay-person volunteers. More than 300 of them. They are people who live and work in our community who care for our patients without being paid. Most of them see patients in our clinic. Others are medical partners who care for our patients in their own offices when we ask them to.
Do I have to pay for my appointments at VIM?
No, there is no charge for basic care received in the clinic. But we do request a donation for the services provided. Most of our patients leave $10 – $20 per visit, when they can. This helps to fund a patient benevolence fund when there is a medical expense that can't be donated and also helps to pay the clinic’s utility bills, medical supplies and other items.
Will I have to pay for other services?
If we can get something for free, you will not have to pay for it. For those things that are not donated, you may have to pay a small fee. Fees may be charged for some medical tests, prescription medications, or dental materials. We will talk with you about any of these costs ahead of time. If there is a cost, it will most likely be at a wholesale price.
What if I need surgery or something other than a doctor visit?
If you are already a VIM patient we will do our best to help you. We may have to send you to a local doctor that doesn’t volunteer in the VIM clinic. These doctors have agreed to help VIM patients anyway. In some cases you will have to pay for part of the services you receive. If so, they will work with you to figure out a payment plan.
Can I get pain pills or medical marijuana?
No. We do not provide pain medication, narcotics or medical marijuana. We also do not give prescriptions for these drugs.
I need to see a dentist, or talk to a counselor. Can you help me with that?
Yes. We have dentists and counselors that volunteer to see VIM patients.
You ask for a Federal Income Tax Return, Form 1040. I don’t have one. Can I still be a patient?
Yes, if you meet the other requirements. You may not need to file taxes if you make too little money. But, there are a number of reasons you may want to file them anyway, especially since you will need them to get tax benefits from the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare").
Filing your taxes can be an easy process - and free - through a volunteer program here in Deschutes County. Call (541) 389-6507 (English), or (541) 382-4366 (Spanish) for assistance.
Are there other VIM clinics in Oregon or around the U.S.?
Yes! There are 95 VIM clinics in 29 states. You can find a list of VIM clinics by clicking here.