Increasing Access to Specialty Care in Volunteers in Medicine Clinics
December, 2018 - Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) has embarked on a one-year pilot program with The MAVEN Project (Medical Alumni Volunteer Expert Network), an organization that leverages telehealth technology to link specialists to primary care providers, caring for vulnerable populations in safety net clinics. The program, which has been sponsored by Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD) provides three VIM clinics access to specialty consultations, educational sessions, and clinical mentoring from The MAVEN Project’s network of experts.
More than 27 million people in the United States lack health insurance and millions more face barriers to care, including gaps in coverage, high costs and provider shortages. Volunteers in Medicine and The MAVEN Project, along with BD, share a commitment to enhancing health care access in underserved communities by harnessing the talents of volunteer medical professionals.
Volunteers in Medicine clinics provide high-quality preventive and primary care at no cost to uninsured patients but may not have the resources to address complex cases and specialty care on site. Referrals to external specialty providers and services can introduce significant barriers to care such as costs, wait lists, and transportation challenges. The MAVEN Project model anchors continuity of care with the primary care provider and optimizes care locally; therefore, mitigating much of the need to refer to specialists who are out of reach due to geographic and socioeconomic barriers. Together, Volunteers in Medicine and The MAVEN Project can deliver complementary comprehensive care to vulnerable populations across the country.
VIM clinics that completed the 2017 VIM Alliance Survey and reported at least 1,000 unduplicated patient visits for the year have been invited to apply for participation in the pilot project. Implementation will begin in late January.