A Network of Medical Volunteers Expands in South Carolina

Reach Out: Physicians' Initiative to Expand Care to Underserved Americans

Starting in August 1994, a managed network of volunteer medical providers called Commun-I-Care continued ongoing efforts to provide non-emergency health care to the uninsured poor in South Carolina.

Besides its volunteer health care workers, Communi-I-Care worked with four (and later five) free clinics and 22 hospitals statewide.

The state Department of Social Services provided patient referral and social services and four major pharmaceutical companies donated many medications.

Commun-I-Care's central office verified eligibility of clients and made physician referrals. Clients were offered one free health care visit per year, although providers often extended their free services as needed.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) national program Reach Out: Physicians' Initiative to Expand Care to Underserved Americans.

Key Results:

  • During the period of RWJF support, Commun-I-Care enrolled an estimated 17,500 patients.
  • By the end of the period, it had assembled a network of over 1,500 volunteer health workers, including some 1,100 physicians, 60 nurse practitioners and 100 dentists.
  • Thirty one hospitals offered free care to clients.