Retired Health Care Workers Spend Their Golden Years Providing Free Primary Care Services

From 1992 to 1996, the Volunteers in Medicine Clinic established a model volunteer clinic on South Carolina's Hilton Head Island, providing care to medically underserved residents and low-income people employed on the island.

Key Results

  • In 1996, the Volunteers in Medicine Clinic, staffed by more than 280 professional and lay volunteers, provided 10,370 visits free of charge.

  • The clinic, although not a revolutionary idea, has become a model for other clinics around the country.

  • Nationally, the volunteers in medicine model has called attention to the value of retired doctors as an underutilized resource.

  • The project director estimates that the project saved $1.2 million in medical care in the first two years, primarily because patients no longer used the hospital emergency room as their principal care facility.