The Uninsured Problem in Lebanon County
Inadequate access to health care consistently ranks as one of the top problems in Lebanon County. Despite the best efforts of private physicians, non-profit clinics, public health agencies and Good Samaritan’s emergency department, Lebanon County residents continue to fall through the cracks.
An estimated 9,000 to 12, 000 Lebanon County citizens− our friends, relatives and neighbors− are without health insurance at any given time. No one knows how many of these people decline insurance due to the cost or are unable to find care from existing resources.
But what is known is:
People without insurance find it difficult to navigate through the healthcare system and utilize existing resources.
The uninsured tend to seek and find care in inappropriate settings, like emergency department visits, which leads to higher costs and overburdened health care systems. For example, chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and asthma are more efficiently treated during regular, non-emergent, primary care office visits.
By delaying routine care, minor conditions often become major health crises that are more costly and more difficult to treat. Good Samaritan’s emergency department reports treating uninsured people every day for conditions that could be prevented by routine visits to a primary care physician.
The Answer For Lebanon County
During the summer of 2008, a small group of concerned Lebanon County residents began discussing the idea of establishing a clinic for the uninsured and underinsured of Lebanon County. Convened by Bob Phillips, a member of the board of trustees of the Good Samaritan Health System and a member of the board of directors of the Francis J. Dixon Foundation, the group included area physicians, representatives from the Good Samaritan Health System, and interested community business leaders.
In December of 2008, after reviewing numerous models, the highly successful model Volunteers in Medicine group model was chosen and the organization was promptly incorporated as a non-profit organization. A vacant medical clinic on South 8th Street, owned by the Good Samaritan Health System, was selected.
Based upon the guidance of the Volunteers in Medicine Board and organizing committee the following tenets will be observed in all clinic actions;
The clinic is based on volunteerism.
The clinic is a community-wide effort.
All people involved with the clinic are treated with dignity, respect and appreciation.
The clinic fills unmet needs without duplication or competition with existing programs.
The Volunteers in Medicine Free Health Clinic serves residents age 18-64 of Lebanon County who are uninsured or underinsured. Over 10,000 people in Lebanon County who are completely uninsured and thousands more who are underinsured will be helped by Volunteers in Medicine Free Health Clinic.
These people are not on Medicaid or Medicare. They are individuals who may be working two or three jobs, with no healthcare coverage offered by any of their employers. They may be retired residents who have worked all their lives but have a gap in coverage because they are not yet eligible for Medicare.
Our PATIENTS are our NEIGHBORS
Construction trades people, hospitality workers, fast food employees, artists, waiters, small business owners, bank tellers, landscapers, mechanics, self-employed entrepreneurs, home healthcare workers, retail clerks, part-time employees, just to name a few.
Lebanon Valley Volunteers in Medicine
711 8th Street, Lebanon PA 17042
Copyright 2016. Lebanon Volunteers In Medicine. All Rights Reserved.