|WCSI Local News|
Columbus' Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) free clinic is in their 16th year of operation.
VIM's Keith Weedman says that while the need for clinics of this type is still there, it's a lot different from when they first opened their doors back in the late 90s. He said back then, VIM was pretty much the only local medical option for poor, uninsured Bartholomew County residents. Since then, Weedman says that has changed considerably. He says there are a number of options for these types of patients within 30 miles of Columbus. Some, which see patients for a flat $30 fee, others charge on a sliding scale. Weedman says VIM remains a free clinic.
Weedman notes another big change is in the patients they see. "We tend to get more patients today that have more complex needs," he says. Weedman adds that they are seeing an increasing number of patients with ongoing, chronic issues, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol among other conditions. He says that often results in these patients being referred to specialty care to help manage their issues.
Weedman says Volunteers in Medicine is funded by donations, with the Columbus Regional Hospital Foundation serving as the group's arm. He says without that generosity, the clinic would not be able to stay open. Weedman also credits the local health care professionals that freely give of their time and talents to help the less fortunate among us. Again, he noted that VIM would not be able to keep their doors open if it wasn't for their generosity.
Weedman adds that the local economy not only factors in to donations, but to patient numbers as well. "Around the time of the flood and the crash of the economy, we were inundated for a while," he said. More recently, Weedman says the closing of the Dolly Madison bakery has increased patient numbers as well.
Weedman says opening their doors 16 years ago, more than 10,000 Bartholomew County residents have been served by Volunteers in Medicine.
For more information, including eligibility requirements, call Volunteers in Medicine at 376-9750. You can also visit their clinic, located at 836 Jackson Street in Columbus, in person.
Last Updated: Friday, January 11, 2013 4:09:11 PM
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