At Centre Volunteers in Medicine, our history has shown we do our utmost to meet the needs of our community. When CVIM opened our medical clinic on Feb. 10, 2003, one of the first patients presented with a dental issue, so CVIM found a way to address the dental needs of the uninsured. And when the closing of Tapestry for Health in Centre County meant that uninsured women had nowhere to go for their routine care, CVIM found a way to take on a well-woman health program.
Two years ago, with a waiting list of 250 individuals for medical appointments, there was a concerted effort to recruit new volunteer physicians. This, along with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act — which helped to insure more individuals — enabled us to take on new patients. And for the first time in CVIM’s history, there is no longer a waiting list for medical patients.
The latest County Health Rankings indicate that 12 percent of Centre County residents remain uninsured. Through an increased outreach and marketing program, CVIM is focusing on getting to hard to reach individuals, within the area, who do not have health care. We are striving to get the word out that we are here to care for their medical needs.
Meanwhile, CVIM’s dental clinic continues to have a waiting list for patient care. Individuals on this list have gone through the eligibility process and qualify as a CVIM patient. We don’t like to report that we have a waiting list, because we don’t want those in need to feel they can’t call on us. We work to treat every emergency to eliminate pain while scheduling follow-up restorative and hygiene appointments for those on the list for care.
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CVIM case managers continue to work with patients to assure that all basic needs are met. Whether the need is for affordable insurance or a basic need, case managers help individuals complete applications. Case managers are currently helping with insurance enrollments during the ACA open enrollment period.
Mount Nittany Health’s most recent Community Health Needs Assessment identified behavioral health as a priority of our community. Starting in September, CVIM again stepped in to the void by beginning a behavioral health program for our uninsured patients.
Ultimately, CVIM, our providers and friends will not rest until we make certain that all Centre County residents and people working in our community receive access to the health care they need. By providing quality health care services to the uninsured, we enable our patients to lead happy and health lives as productive members of our community.
Anyone in need of services can contact CVIM at 231-4043 or find information on our website, www.cvim.net.
Cheryl White is the executive director of Centre Volunteers in Medicine, which is a Centre County United Way Partner Agency.