NBC Nightly News will be coming back to Hilton Head Island to visit an organization they featured 12 years ago.
In 2005, Volunteers in Medicine was featured in a feel-good piece that was focused on Dr. Jack McConnell, the organization’s founder. This time, the news organization will likely be back to focus on the impact VIM has made on the community, Director of Development Ginger Allen said Sunday afternoon.
Over the years, VIM has grown immensely, as have the needs in the community, Allen said. The organization is in its 25th year as the flagship of nearly 100 clinics that grew from the one on Hilton Head Island. It has grown to be the largest free and charitable clinic in the state and one of the largest in the country, she said. There are between about 10,000 and 11,000 individual patients who make up approximately 30,000 patient visits each year. Volunteers put about 52,000 hours of service into the clinic, which has an approximately $2 million budget.
Volunteers in Medicine is funded by donors, run by volunteers and maintained with the help of patients. Many grateful patients give back to VIM and help to keep it running by providing services including landscaping, cleaning and roof repair, Allen explained.
“They take care of VIM because VIM takes care of them,” Allen said. “VIM is a really special place, from the volunteers to the patients to the staff to the donor community.”
The clinic has, in recent years, been focusing on preventative health care through health and wellness programs, Allen said. Chronic illness like diabetes and hypertension pose a significant threat to the underserved community. Through preventative care, patients have a better chance of maintaining their health before it becomes a danger to them.
At least one thing has not changed since NBC’s last visit:
“Our mission and vision remain the same,” Allen said. “It never changed, nor will it.”
Anyone who lives or works on Hilton Head Island and lives below 200 percent of the poverty line has access to health care services provided at VIM, Allen explained. Outreach efforts continue to spread word of VIM and the health care services available there for the Hilton Head Island community to whom quality health care may not be otherwise available.
For more information, visit vimclinic.org.