We are Volunteers in Medicine
With the dedicated service of volunteer physicians, nurses, and allied health professionals, the Bluffton Jasper VIM provides care to our friends and neighbors in Bluffton and Jasper County who are without medical insurance.
Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) began in Hilton Head, South Carolina. In 1992, one out of three people who lived on Hilton Head Island had no access to healthcare. At the same time, a number of retired medical personnel (physicians, nurses, dentists) began expressing an interest in finding a way to continue practicing their profession on a voluntary, part-time basis to help those without access to healthcare. Presently in the U.S., there are over 250,000 retired physicians; 350,000 nurses; and 40,000 dentists. Most are looking for a meaningful way to spend their retirement. The VIM model emphasizes the use of retired medical professionals to provide quality healthcare services in free clinics which focus on serving the needs of the uninsured.
In 2010 a group of concerned citizens recognized the need for a free clinic that would serve the town of Bluffton and Jasper County. On September 19, 2011 Bluffton Jasper County Volunteers in Medicine opened its doors and saw its first patient. Today the all-volunteer free medical clinic provides medical exams, counseling and nutritional services as well as preventative disease education to over 2,000 eligible uninsured residents in Greater Bluffton and Jasper County. In addition, radiological imaging and lab testing referrals are made for patients needing these services.
The clinic is staffed by caring and generous local physicians and nurses who donate their time and expertise to extend first class medical care to patients at the clinic. Office and administrative positions are filled by volunteers who answer the phones, greet patients and manage medical records and paperwork necessary to operate a busy clinic. In all, approximately 75 volunteers make the day to day operation of the clinic possible. The benefits of a clinic such as BJVIM are important and broad reaching: by helping people to stay healthy, they are more likely to stay employed and less likely to suffer from chronic illnesses. More families who previously did not have access to healthcare can now be educated to make healthy choices, learn to participate in their own health care and subsequently pass this valuable knowledge on to their children. Healthy families create healthy communities and in every way, a healthy community is a better community!
Bluffton-Jasper County Volunteers in Medicine is one of over 90 independent clinics under the guidance of the National Volunteers in Medicine Alliance. These clinics are a local solution to a national problem and seek to make primary healthcare accessible to a greater number of people in the community who have no insurance. Obviously, even with the excellent leadership and hard work of the volunteers, the success of the clinic would never have been possible and would not be sustained without the support of corporations and individuals who live in the community. The generosity of the people of Bluffton and Jasper County, citizens and corporations alike, who provide working partnerships, medical services and financial support is the key to making it all work.
The Mission of the Bluffton Jasper County Volunteers in Medicine is to provide free medical care in a compassionate and professional manner to the uninsured of Greater Bluffton and Jasper County with an emphasis on preventative medicine and health education.
No one in our community goes without access to quality health care.
- Caring – We are empathetic to any individual in our community with limited access to quality healthcare and we volunteer our time to serve those in need.
- Compassion – We value and respect all human life and we selflessly serve to protect human dignity and improve the quality of life of our patients.
- Commitment – We are dedicated to serving the needs of our patients and providing the highest level of professional healthcare
- Community – We believe that responsible stewardship and investment of our donated resources into the continued health and well-being of our community is our highest calling.