Volunteer-Staffed Clinic Serves Coachella Valley’s Uninsured

 

Photo: Courtesy Coachella Valley Volunteers in Medicine
Photo: Courtesy of Coachella Valley Volunteers in Medicine

 

NATALIA CERVANTES/Coachella Uninc

 

INDIO – Coachella Valley Volunteers in Medicine (CVVIM), established in the fall of 2010, has flourished into a state-of-the-art facility staffed entirely by volunteers and serving the most vulnerable in the community – those without health insurance.

Many low-income people without health insurance flee to the emergency room for non-emergency situations, such as the flu. Not only does it take time and space away from more urgent cases, but also this is extremely costly.

This is where CVVIM can make a difference.

The volunteer doctors, dentists, and nurses provide non-emergency care for patients at no cost and provide follow up care as needed. CVVIM works with several pharmacies to acquire free or reduced medicine for the patients.

CVVIM is supported entirely by grants and donations – no funds come from the government. Loretta Moss, community liaison, goes out into the community to secure donations and bring awareness of the clinic to local residents.

Moss invited me to visit CVVIM.  The clinic occupies a new state-of-the-art facility custom built by the County of Riverside.  The facility houses six patient exam rooms, two fully equipped dental operatories, other ancillary clinical rooms, and a community room suitable for educational and other group meetings.

But what really struck me about the clinic was the number of volunteer hours over the the past three years: 24,000! Moss says volunteers come and go, but CVVIM had 249 different volunteers in 2013.

I asked Moss about the Affordable Care Act, which requires everyone have health insurance. What will happen to CVVIM, who only sees those without health insurance?

“No matter what, there will always be a need. Not everyone can afford or qualify for health insurance, but everyone does need some sort of health care. That is why we will always be here,” Moss says.

Undocumented residents do not qualify for health care under the Affordable Care Act. CVVIM will not turn anyone away due to his or her legal status.

“If you need help,” says Moss. “We’ll help you.”

 

Make an Appointment

CVVIM requires that patients are 18 or older, live in the Coachella Valley, are not eligible for any other health care assistance, and do not exceed 200 percent of current federal poverty guidelines.

Please call to make an appointment with a doctor or dentist at (760) 342-4414. CVVIM is located at 82-915 Avenue 48 in Indio. Clinic hours vary by week based on provider schedule and availability. There is a standing Women’s Clinic every Thursday afternoon and a General Medical Clinic every Saturday morning. The clinic is closed Sundays and most Mondays.

 

 

 

 

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