In 1994, Dr. Jack McConnell brought a group of medical professionals together to create the first Volunteers in Medicine Clinic in Hilton Head, South Carolina. There are currently over 90 Volunteers in Medicine Clinics located throughout the United States. The Volunteers in Medicine Clinic model relies on retired and practicing medical professionals to serve individuals and families who have no access to ongoing healthcare, typically the working low income. Volunteers in Medicine Wilkes-Barre Clinic opened its doors in the summer of 2008 in the downtown area. VIM Wilkes-Barre is a full service free medical and dental clinic. The clinic provides primary and preventative health care to financially eligible individuals and families in Luzerne County, PA who otherwise have no access to public or private health insurances.
The Dental Clinic opened its door to patients in January 2011. Luzerne County was identified as having an “unusually high need” for dental services because only one water system in the county (Hazelton City) is fluoridated. This translates to 87.3% of the population without access to fluoridated water.
Statistics show, the uninsured population in the nation is estimated to be 14 percent of the population or approximately 43 million people. In Pennsylvania, the number of uninsured residents is approximately 10 percent, representing 1 million people. Luzerne County is no exception to this problem. There are 43,125 residents in the city of Wilkes-Barre. The city itself has a 17.8% poverty rate. At 200% of the poverty level, this assumes that some 7675 people could be potential clients seen by Volunteers in Medicine from the city of Wilkes-Barre alone. There are more than 35,000 residents in Luzerne County who have a job, but do not have primary care insurance.
Martin "Wonderful community resource and place to work"
Angela "I am not a patient at Volunteers but have been there during the treatment of more than one patient. They provide a tremendous service to local residents. They are competent, compassionate, and provide excellent care. I'm blessed to know of them and share their mission with others."
Jean: "I loved working there. Great staff.. Amazing doctors who volunteer their time for patients who have no medical insurance."
Robyn "If you are working in NEPA, even part-time, and are uninsured or underinsured, for health and/or dental, please contact Wilkes-Barre Volunteers in Medicine. Don't assume you aren't eligible. They work miracles."