Since Volunteers in Medicine Clinic of the Cascades (VIM) opened in 2004, low-income adults have visited the VIM clinic over 95,004 times to receive necessary medical care.
VIM’s volunteers are our greatest assets. During our 2017-18 fiscal year, they donated 14,516 service hours valued at $630,403. Volunteers include primary and specialty care physicians, nurses, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, phlebotomists, pharmacists, certified diabetes educators, counselors, medical and graduate students, and a variety of support personnel, who keep the clinic running smoothly. We also rely heavily on Spanish interpreters, many of whom are local college students.
More than 350 community medical partners see VIM patients upon referral and help extend our volunteer reach. They represent 43 specialties from 118 medical groups, clinics and facilities throughout Central Oregon, including St. Charles Health System, Summit Medical Group, formally known as Bend Memorial Clinic, and Central Oregon Radiology Associates.
WHO WE SERVE
Most VIM patients fall into one of these categories, all are ineligible for ACA programs.
Currently, over 900 adults consider VIM as their medical home. Most work multiple part-time jobs in construction, landscaping, housekeeping, restaurants, various trades, elder, and childcare.
The ACA did not create a universal healthcare system. According to the 2018 County Health Rankings and 2018 US Census Bureau data, 19,000 – 24,000 people are living without health insurance coverage in the tri-county area, and that number continues to climb as our population expands. Most medical providers cannot care for patients who don’t have insurance or money to pay for services. When people don’t have access to regular health care, they wait until they are so ill that they end up in the Emergency Room (ER). By law, the ER must treat everyone, regardless of his or her ability to pay.
An ER visit costs about 10 times more than a primary care visit. Unpaid bills get passed on to the community as higher insurance rates and hospital fees. Also, ERs do not provide ongoing medical attention, preventative services, prescriptions for chronic conditions, counseling or any care that is necessary but non-urgent.
VIM exists to break this cycle. Over 83% of VIM’s patients are Spanish-speaking immigrants. A significant percentage have never had access to healthcare. Many come to VIM with serious chronic conditions that could have been avoided with reliable access to care and health education. This is what VIM provides. Many have been unable to access medical care for years. Some come to VIM to see a doctor for the very first time.
VIM has faced funding challenges since the advent of the ACA. We hit our lowest point in 2015 and are starting to rebound. Support and revenue were up 12% the following year, and our operating deficit was cut in half. We have continued to meet operating expenses, in large part, due to several unanticipated legacy gifts.
The needs of our patients are great, as evidenced by the number of calls we receive each week. Yet, the general public is unaware of how broken the system is for those who are most vulnerable in our community.
During this fiscal year (April 1, 2018, to March 31, 2019), we are seeking $240,000 in financial support from the Central Oregon medical community—anyone who would be forced to care for uninsured patients in an ad hoc, uncoordinated way without VIM. St. Charles Health System will match any donation 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, &960,000 over the two-year St. Charles Health System Medical Match period.
Please join with us, as a community, to ensure low-wage earning adults continue to have access to affordable medical care and medications for as long as there is a need.
Together we give people hope, health, and opportunity.
That’s the power of our community.
Are you in?
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!