By Charles H. Sampson, Partner/Agent
Charter One Realty
Hilton Head Island and the Lowcountry is the place to be if you are looking for great beaches, great weather, great outdoor activities for singles or families and a great lifestyle for every age. Hilton Head and the Lowcountry also have a very caring community. Recently, I attended a community meeting for Hilton Head Plantation residents and the guest speaker was a doctor with the Hilton Head Island’s Volunteers in Medicine (VIM). This organization was founded in 1993 by Hilton Head Plantation resident, Dr. Jack McConnell. The clinic encompasses over 8,000 square feet and in 2014 the clinic had over 30,000 patient visits. VIM Hilton Head Island is reported to be the largest free clinic in South Carolina. A wonderful result of VIM Hilton Head Island has taken place; there are now approximately 97 medical clinics across the country based on the VIM Hilton Head model.
VIM provides care in 23 medical specialties and five disease management clinics. VIM helps to keep people who do not have health coverage out of the hospital emergency room. To qualify, a VIM patient’s income cannot exceed 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. Patients can either live or work on Hilton Head Island or Daufuskie Island. The mission statement of Volunteers in Medicine is: “To understand and serve the health and wellness of the medically underserved population and their households, living or working on Hilton Head and Daufuskie Island.”
Medical Professionals Contribute Their Services to Community Health
Today VIM has more than 600 lay and professional volunteers providing approximately 50,000 hours of service. The health care volunteers include doctors, dentists, nurses, mental health providers, lab and x-ray technicians and pharmacists. A good number of pharmaceuticals are donated each year to the clinic. VIM patients are also volunteers. Many of the volunteers are highly skilled and help with maintenance, painting, and cleaning as well as fundraising. Financial reports have revealed that even with all the donated items and volunteer hours, the costs are still above $2,000,000 a year. However, this cost to serve the community provides over $12,000,000 in services by VIM.
Volunteers in Medicine Hilton Head Island is The Model for the United States
The VIM Clinic Hilton Head has resulted in approximately 97 like clinics across the country, one of which is in the Lowcountry as VIM Bluffton.
A sincere thank you to Dr. Jack McConnell for his foresight and dedication; to all the volunteers; and to all who help to support Volunteers in Medicine Clinic Hilton Head Island. I am proud to say Charter One Realty has donated thousands of dollars to the support of VIM.