The following is Opinion Editorial submitted by GCVCC member Coachella Valley Volunteers in Medicine
There are an estimated 50,000 to 70,000 uninsured adults in the valley. If you’re thinking they’re unemployed and just need to get jobs to obtain healthcare, think again. Many work hard for a living, however, just because they do, doesn’t mean they can afford healthcare coverage.
When you add the countless underinsured individuals to the uninsured, we’re looking at a staggeringly high number. Many employers have cut or plan to cut workers’ hours to avoid paying for healthcare. Part-time and contracted employees aren’t covered. Many who are eligible for insurance, can’t afford the premiums, and many of those having the benefit of employer-provided coverage, can’t afford the co-pays.
Good thing Coachella Valley Volunteers In Medicine (CVVIM) opened its doors in 2010. CVVIM is the only no-charge medical and dental clinic in the Coachella Valley serving adults, who for whatever reason, can’t get medical care anywhere else. “We believe that everyone has the right to healthcare and we’re dedicated to treating the whole person by addressing chronic diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes and arthritis, acute conditions like colds and flu, preventive medicine, diet, and even emotional health,” said CVVIM Executive Director, Doug Morin. “In addition to direct patient care, we provide health education and wellness programs, case management and community referrals for patients.”
Patients are encouraged to schedule appointments with the clinic instead of visiting local hospital emergency rooms to receive care for non-life-threatening conditions. A visit to the CVVIM will avoid costly out-of-pocket expenses for uninsured patients, while providing them with high-quality, compassionate care. The clinic’s personnel structure is unique in that care is provided by volunteers. These professionals, whether currently working or wishing to continue their professions after retirement, do so because they want to give back to their community and provide care to their neighbors in need. Many of the additional services provided, such as disease education, specialty clinics and certain community referrals, are only possible because of partnerships with other healthcare providers and community organizations.
Since 2010, the clinic has provided more than 22,000 direct patient visits to nearly 2,500 unique patients, and assisted an additional 5,000 patients with related services such as education and case management. CVVIM doesn’t receive governmental reimbursement and relies exclusively on the generosity of individual and philanthropic organizations for funding.
For more information, visit CVVIM.org or contact Doug Morin at 760-342-4414.