Reach Out Projects Extend Outreach of Medical Care to West Virginians

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

The West Virginia University School of Medicine at Morgantown, W.Va., and three state-sanctioned "Health Right" free clinics developed a project entitled Reach Out: Physicians' Initiative to Expand Care to Underserved West Virginians.

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

Goals of the project, which started in August 1995, were to increase services to the medically uninsured using the Health Right clinics and to initiate medical care for the uninsured in the western panhandle area of West Virginia and in the state's southwestern coal mining region.

The project provided health care at each clinic with volunteer health care workers, imaging and lab work using local hospitals.

Key Results:

  • Project staff initiated new services in two areas of West Virginia: In the northern panhandle, with a clinic at Wheeling and a smaller one in Martinsville; and in the southern coal mining area, at Logan.
  • Staff expanded Health Rights clinics' volunteer base and number of patients served.
  • The project brought its cost per patient to a level significantly lower than the state's federally qualified health clinics and rural health clinics.
  • Staff created and then expanded a patient database and compiled a discounted medications database.