Volunteers in Medicine of Monroe County
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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the Volunteers in Medicine Free medical clinic?
Volunteers in Medicine is a free medical clinic for individuals residing in Monroe and Owen Counties who are without health insurance or the economic means to pay for health care. When VIM first opened in 2007 it was estimated that nearly 17,000 adults and children in households at or below 200% of the poverty level, in Monroe and Owen Counties, were without any type of health insurance.

This clinic is modeled after a national program with a history of success in other communities around the country. A group of retired medical professionals in Hilton Head, South Carolina established the first Volunteers in Medicine clinic in 1993. Today, the Vermont-based Volunteers in Medicine Institute helps new community clinics based on the Volunteers in Medicine model get started.
2.  How has the Affordable Care Act (ACT)  affected the VIM Cinic?    

Over nearly10 years, the Volunteers in Medicine clinic has served as a “safety-net” clinic offering health care to people that, due to financial constraints, would not otherwise have access to services. However, while there are now fewer uninsured adults coming to VIM since the implementation of healthcare reform, there is still no doubt that many newly insured people experiencing homelessness or otherwise living in poverty remain medically underserved and in need of a safety-net clinic. Healthcare reform has not changed the fact people living in poverty, who become insured, are still living in poverty.

For the many people ineligible for insurance, Volunteers in Medicine continues to provide the free medical, dental, mental health, and specialty care, and medications for which we are well known. At the same time, the VIM clinic is working harder than ever to keep insured people, living in poverty, healthy by providing “health support services.”

Public health experts have known for decades that factors such as inadequate housing, poor nutrition, lack of transportation, and health illiteracy have a bigger impact on health than medical interventions. VIM’s health support services are available for both insured and uninsured people that meet VIM’s income eligibility criteria. The clinic is unbelievably busy!

We can hope that, one day, no one will be without health insurance and that everyone who needs it will have easy access to medical care – however, that hope is not yet a reality. There is no doubt that as long as people still live in poverty, there will be need in Bloomington and surrounding communities for a safety-net free medical clinic. VIM is proud to serve this need.                                                 

3.  Who operates the clinic?
The free medical clinic is community-operated, community-owned, and community-financed. The success of the clinic requires a strong partnership with many local agencies, a volunteer staff including both medical professionals and lay volunteers, and the financial support of the community. A small paid staff provide the core infrastructure to the clinic operations.

4. Who established this Volunteers in Medicine clinic?
Members of the local community, hand-in-hand with prominent members of the medical establishment, have established the free medical clinic to serve Monroe and Owen counties.

5. How is IUH Bloomington Hospital involved in the Volunteers in Medicine Clinic?
Indiana University Health Bloomington Hospital has long been a provider of non-profit healthcare services to the medically underserved through the now closed Community Health Access Program (CHAP) clinic. Over the past many years, IUHB provided extensive support to VIM patients through charity care services and donated staff.  IUHB continues to be a significant partner with the Volunteers in Medicine clinic through its donation of 2.5 employees to the clinic.

6. What types of volunteers are needed at the free clinic?
Over 50 medical professionals volunteer at the clinic—but additional help is often needed. Volunteers in Medicine clinics rely on donated time from both retired and active physicians and nurses, as well as nearly 100 lay volunteers from the community that provide operational support.

Volunteer roles include:

  • Physicians, dentists and pharmacists
  • Nurse practitioners and nurses
  • Social workers and psychologists
  • Spanish medical interpreters
  • Patient educators and wellness instructors
  • Dietitians
  • Administrative and operational support

7. How many other cities have Volunteers in Medicine clinics?
The first Volunteers in Medicine clinic, established in Hilton Health, South Carolina in 1993, has served as a model for some 95 additional clinics in cities across the United States, including Columbus and Crawfordsville, Indiana.  For more information on the VIM model, see the national website at www.volunteersinmedicine.org

8. Where is the Volunteers in Medicine clinic located?
811 West 2nd Street, Bloomington, IN  47403

9. Who is eligible for care at the Volunteers in Medicine free medical clinic?
Individuals who:

  • live in Monroe or Owen County
  • earn income at or below 200% of the federal poverty level
  • do not have health insurance or are medically underserved with insurance
  • are not eligible for Healthy IN Plan, Veteran's benefits, or Marketplace insurance

Children of adults who qualify for care at the Volunteers in Medicine clinic will be referred to Southern Indiana Pediatrics.

10. What does 200% of the federal poverty level mean?
The United States Department of Health and Human Services establishes the federal poverty level. The Volunteers in Medicine free medical clinic serves adults who earn at or below 200% of this level, which translates for the year 2016 to the following:

Persons in Household Household Income
1 $23,540
2 $31,860
3 $40,180
4 $48,500
5 $56,820
6 $65,140
7 $73,460
8 $81,780

For families with more than 8 persons, add $4,320 for each additional person.

11. What are the clinic’s hours of operation?
Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Walk-in visits also occur during clinic open hours.

12. What free services will be provided at the clinic?

  • Primary and preventive care for both chronic and acute illnesses
  • Medications for acute and chronic illnesses
  • Dental care
  • Psychological counseling
  • Specialists (Cardiology, Podiatry, Neurology, among others)
  • Health Education
  • Assistance navigating the insurance and medical systems

13. How is Volunteers in Medicine clinic financed?
Tax-deductible community contributions from individuals, congregations, and corporations, grants, in-kind gifts of services and products, and a small endowment.

14. How are donations made to the Volunteers in Medicine clinic?
Tax-deductible contributions can be made in two ways: a designated gift to the Volunteers in Medicine Fund and/or a gift to the clinic’s endowment.   For more information or to make a gift, please see the DONATE Page.

15. Can children receive care at the Volunteers in Medicine clinic?
Children of adults who qualify for care at the Volunteers in Medicine clinic will be referred to Southern Indiana Pediatrics through Indiana University Health Bloomington. .

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