Volunteers in Medicine America
Volunteers in Medicine is a unique charitable clinic model that has been replicated successfully in more than 114 communities across the U.S. The original Volunteers in Medicine Clinic in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina was started in 1993 by Dr. Jack McConnell, for whom the AMA’s annual Jack B. McConnell Award for Excellence in Volunteerism is named. Volunteers in Medicine America was established in 1996 to replicate this model and to support a network of clinics that operate according to the model.
A Volunteers in Medicine clinic is a nonprofit, 501c3 organization that provides compassionate, quality healthcare at no charge to low-income, uninsured and medically underserved individuals. Among the model’s distinctive characteristics is the prominent role played by a “provider champion”, its emphasis on recruiting and engaging senior clinicians, and its adherence to Dr. McConnell’s “circle of caring” principle in which compassion is the only currency and healing and hope for patients and providers alike are the results.
Our motto is Together We Heal, we strongly affirm the Quadruple Aim, and it is our goal to bring hope and healing to patients and providers alike.
Our Mission and Values
At Volunteers in Medicine America, our mission is to promote, guide, and sustain a national network of free clinics that abide by the Volunteers in Medicine model. Our organizational values are caring, integrity, transparency, stewardship, and inclusion.
Each Volunteers in Medicine clinic is a nonprofit, 501c3 organization governed by a board of directors comprised of local healthcare and community leaders. Clinics establish their own policies and procedures for intake/eligibility, scope of services, hours of operation, clinic workflows, labs and diagnostic testing, medication access, and more. Since Covid-19 emerged, many clinics have begun providing care via telemedicine. Many are using the simple Doxy.me telemedicine platform, the clinic version of which has been provided for free to all Volunteers in Medicine clinics. The population served by most of our clinics is low-income, uninsured adults, 19-64 years of age. Most patients are working and a majority have one or more chronic conditions (e.g., diabetes, hypertension, asthma, depression, etc.). Many clinics have robust partnerships with their local hospitals and health systems, health departments, medical societies, and community mental health agencies.
Volunteers in Medicine clinics provide general primary and specialty medical care for the treatment of acute/episodic conditions and chronic illnesses. Therefore, many different medical specialties are needed. Most of the patients are adults but a few clinics serve children also. Females outnumber males in our clinics, so women’s healthcare is a prominent area of focus. In addition to medical care and access to medications, some clinics provide one or more of the following: vision care, dental services, and mental health/counseling. Volunteers in Medicine clinics do not provide emergency services, abortion services, or narcotics.
Our Service Area
Currently there are Volunteers in Medicine clinics in 30 states: AL, AR, CA, FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, KS, MA, MD, MN, MO, MS, NC, NE, NJ, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, and WY. Physicians seeing patients in our clinics must be licensed in the state where the clinic is located. During Covid-19, some states are allowing out-of-state licensed practitioners to practice under certain conditions.
What Our Physicians Have To Say
“There is a spirit at Volunteers in Medicine that I have only felt at other Volunteers in Medicine clinics. We are all connected by a cause and a belief that no one should have to do without basic healthcare and that a little effort by each of us can make the world a better place for so many.”
- Lynn Helmer, MD, MBA, FACP, volunteer at Volunteers in Medicine Clinics of South Jersey
“Almost two decades ago I was a family physician looking for a place to volunteer my medical skills to those in need. I discovered a local Volunteers in Medicine clinic in West Chester, PA and have donated time there ever since. This service has been the most rewarding time working with colleagues and patients in my forty years in medicine.”
- Todd Sagin, MD, JD, volunteer at Community Volunteers in Medicine
There are many good reasons for doctors to volunteer with Volunteers in Medicine.
Among the top reasons are:
- Liability protection (through the Federal Tort Claims Act, state sovereign immunity or state risk pool, or commercial malpractice insurance)
- Freedom from headaches associated with insurance and third-party reimbursement (coding, claims management, denials, prior authorization, etc.)
- Clinic arranges for patient follow-up and coordination for other healthcare needs (e.g., labs, diagnostic procedures, specialty consults, medications, etc.)
- Flexibility in terms of frequency and duration of volunteering
- Camaraderie with other physicians and members of the healthcare team
- Joy that comes from giving care, healing, and hope to grateful patients who have no other good options for care
How to Get Involved?
To learn more about volunteer opportunities (in-clinic or remote) with Volunteers in Medicine, visit our website.
You may also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, attach your CV, indicate a desired volunteer role and location, and ask questions. You are always welcome to call us at (843) 681-8462.
We look forward to helping you find a volunteer role that is professionally fulfilling and makes a difference in the lives of those you serve.