Volunteers in Medicine Christian County (VIMCC) announced the recent award of $25,000 in grant funding from the American Academy of Family Physician’s (AAFP) Foundation Family Medicine Cares (FMC) USA grant program.
The VIMCC clinic serves uninsured, medically underserved, and homeless individuals who live or work in Christian County.
According to Dr. Rachelene Middleton, VIMCC Medical Director, the grant will help to purchase durable, sustainable equipment and instruments necessary for primary care diagnosis and treatment in Christian County.
“We are honored that the AAFP Foundation has chosen to fund the mission of VIMCC through their FMC USA New Clinic Grant award,” Middleton said. “This speaks to the foundation’s commitment to community health, and will allow low-income, uninsured adults in Christian County access to quality compassionate healthcare.”
VIMCC incorporated as a non-profit free medical clinic in Christian County in 2019. “Our mission is to provide quality health care through a community-supported freestanding clinic that is staffed by volunteers,” Dr. John J. Lorette Jr., VIMCC Board of Directors president, said.
Support for VIMCC clinic comes through individual donors, volunteers, corporations, local nonprofit organizations, grants, partnerships within the community, and others that share the mission of VIMCC to provide accessible health care.
VIMCC will offer free non-emergency healthcare services for individuals between the ages of 18-64 years who are not covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or other private insurance and who have household incomes at or below the 150-percent Federal Poverty Level, which is $19,140 for an individual in 2020. Some of the conditions that will be frequently seen and managed include diabetes, hypertension, asthma, acute respiratory infections, anxiety, depression, lower back pain and other musculoskeletal conditions.
According to the University of Missouri Center for Applied Research and Engagement, the percentage of adults age 18-64 in Christian County without health insurance coverage is higher (13.70 percent) compared to the state (13.55 percent) and the U.S. (12.45 percent).
“We were surprised to learn that Christian County has a higher rate of uninsured adults than the state and national average. This is important, because the lack of health insurance is considered a key driver of poor health status, and a primary barrier to health care access and other health services,” said Dr. Pam Duitsman of University of Missouri Extension, and VIMCC Board member.
In August of 2020, VIMCC obtained an ambulance that will be used as a mobile clinic in Christian County. VIMCC will remain mobile for the immediate future, and will partner with service organizations within Christian County to connect their clients to VIMCC services.
“The mobile clinic will allow us to bring care to vulnerable patients, and offers an excellent community-based care option for those who would otherwise face extraordinary challenges to accessing health care. Community partnerships give us a built-in group of individuals who need care,” Middleton said.
The American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation launched its Family Medicine Cares USA grant program in 2011 to assist in the caring for uninsured individuals. Grants are awarded for the purchase of tangible items, such as EMRs and medical equipment.