Are you a health care professional wanting to give back to our community? Do you want to make a difference in the life of someone, and their family, by helping them maintain, or return to, a state of health? Do you want to volunteer where the joy of medicine is practiced every day?
Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) is a nonprofit health care center with clinics in both Indio and Palm Springs. Relying solely on financial support from individuals, community organizations and foundations, VIM provides primary care and limited specialty care, as well as various health care services such as case management, health education, behavioral health assistance, social services and homeless medical outreach. Services are provided free of charge to qualified patients who meet eligibility requirements for residency in the Coachella Valley or greater Morongo Basin and have household incomes no greater than 200% of Federal Poverty Guidelines.
Nearly 30,000 adults in the Coachella Valley go without primary health care services because they don’t have health insurance and can’t afford to pay privately for care. With no insurance, these individuals forgo preventive care, such as vaccinations and health screenings, and routine medical care, when most chronic illnesses are detected. They don’t receive the education, medication and support needed to manage a chronic illness, such as diabetes or hypertension, and they often don’t know where to get the community resources needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
At VIM, care is provided by volunteer medical providers – physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners – and assisted by volunteer nurses, medical assistants and others, who give their time and expertise. The common feeling among all these volunteers is how much they enjoy caring for patients in an environment where the priority is on quality patient care, not a patient or revenue quota. The “joy of practicing medicine” is what our volunteer medical providers say they get from volunteering at VIM. The pressure or expectation of generating revenue is removed, and providers are encouraged to get to know their patients, understand their limitations and engage them in their care plan. Many of VIM’s medical providers share how refreshing it is to provide the care, time and attention they envisioned providing when they first decided to go into medicine; they talk about returning to the joy of medicine.
If you are a health care practitioner in the Coachella Valley, please consider donating even a small amount of your time to Volunteers in Medicine. Get back to caring. Get back to the joy of medicine.