Recognizing that Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) clinics serve patients with complex needs and many clinics do not have the resources to provide specialty care on site, the VIM national office is working with Becton, Dickenson and Company (BD), athenahealth and The MAVEN Project (Medical Alumni Volunteer Expert Network) to provide telehealth services to VIM clinics.  In January, four clinics across the United States were chosen as pilot sites for this program.

The aim of this pilot project is to reduce patient barriers to care, leveraging telehealth technology to enable primary care providers to manage more complex care on site where possible.  BD and athenahealth are sponsoring the program, which will provide each pilot site with one year of access to The MAVEN Project’s specialty consultations, educational sessions and clinical mentoring.

Lisa Bard Levine, MD, MBA, CEO of The MAVEN Project shares that “The MAVEN Project is excited to be partnering with these dedicated clinics from Volunteers in Medicine and is grateful for the support of our grantors.  Through virtual access to our incredible physician volunteers, VIM providers will have resources available to teach, mentor and advise while optimizing the care of their patients, locally, as much as possible.”

The following chosen pilot sites are committed to using telehealth to improve the continuity of care for their patients.

Coachella Valley Volunteers in Medicine, Indio, CA:  Coachella Valley VIM provides primary medical care and limited specialty care on site.  Patients sometimes must travel 60-80 miles to attend appointments with external providers and many immigrants face significant fears when accessing care in an unfamiliar location.  Reducing offsite referrals will allow patients to receive comprehensive care with trusted providers.

Volunteers in Medicine Clinic, Stuart, FL: In addition to primary care, VIM provides many specialty services on site.  One huge gap is psychiatry.  With offsite providers limiting visits and transportation vouchers, many patients cannot access the mental health services they need.  Telehealth consultations for medication management will reduce the need for external referrals.

Volunteers in Medicine, Wilkes-Barre, PA: The clinic is in the process of receiving Patient-Centered Medical Home certification through the National Committee for Quality Assurance.  Access to The MAVEN Project’s suite of telehealth services will advance VIM’s goal of providing high-quality care.

Barrier Islands Free Medical Clinic, Johns Island, SC:  BIFMC is a multi-service free clinic which provides primary care and specialty services like gynecology, dermatology and ophthalmology.  For their large Latino population, barriers to accessing external providers include challenges getting time off from work for multiple appointments, poor translation services, and prohibitive costs.  Telehealth will allow the clinic to offer more patients with one-stop, all-inclusive visits.