While the Affordable Care Act (ACA) greatly expanded healthcare coverage, many Oregonians were left behind. The State of Oregon reports that 278,000 residents still lack health insurance, and the percentage enrolled has stagnated. Over 12,000 residents in Deschutes County alone do not have healthcare coverage. The Kaiser Family Foundation finds that, "Most uninsured people are in low-income families and have at least one worker in the family". Numerous studies show that low-income individuals are sicker, with poorer health outcomes and earlier mortality than other community members.
Many of those lacking coverage are low, very low, or extremely low-income Latino immigrants, with very few healthcare options. Others are low-income adults who are in-between enrollment periods for ACA programs, or are facing extreme hardships that make it impossible for them to afford insurance premiums.
Without access to reliable and quality healthcare, individuals tend to ignore symptoms. Having to pay for healthcare means a low-income family might go without food, or heat, or miss paying the rent. Most family breadwinners are not willing to put their own needs before their family. Instead, they often wait until they are so sick that they end up in the emergency room. This lack of timely and preventative care can easily deteriorate into serious chronic conditions such as heart disease or diabetes.
Emergency Room (ER) care averages 10 times the cost of a visit to a primary care facility. The ER also won't provide ongoing medical attention, preventative services, prescriptions for chronic conditions, mental health counseling, or any other care that is necessary, but considered non-urgent. Plus, any unpaid medical bills are passed on to the public in the form of higher insurance premiums and hospital fees.
Using the ER is a poor solution when caring for the uninsured - but care for the uninsured is where VIM shines. Our work strengthens the physical health of low-wage earners, and we also strengthen their financial health, giving them the opportunity to spend their hard-earned income on basic necessities instead of healthcare expenses. All of this translates into a stronger community, with you support.
During this fiscal year (April 1, 2018, to March 31, 2019), we are seeking $240,000 in financial support from the medical community throughout Central Oregon m— any practices or clinic that would be forced to care for uninsured patients in an ad hoc, uncoordinated way without VIM.
St. Charles Health System will match any donation VIM receives from a licensed medical professional who can bill for their services, dollar-for-dollar, up to $240,000, this year and next year, for a total of up to $480,000 in matched donations.
Please make a donation today to ensure low-wage earning adults in our community will continue to have access to affordable medical care and medications for as long as there is a need. Thank you!
Your donation provides access to primary and specialty care services, and prescription medications, for low-wage earning adults who live or work in Deschutes, Crook, and Jefferson Counties and have no medical insurance or means to pay for care.
Because of your support, we are making a difference in the health of our community, one patient at a time. Thank you!