Volunteers in Health Care Program Establishes Technical Resource Center, Provides Financial Support to Organizations Offering Free Care

RxAssist: An Internet-based program to assist low-income and uninsured populations to obtain medications

Between 1997 and 2006, staff from the national program office of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) program Reach Out: Physicians' Initiative to Expand Care to Underserved Americans established and operated a technical resource center. The center, called Volunteers in Health Care, helped physicians, dentists and other providers meet local health care needs through their volunteer efforts.

Key Results

  • To support local efforts to use volunteer clinicians to provide free care and to create pharmaceutical access programs, Volunteers in Health Care staff made 9,600 contacts—by telephone, by e-mail or in person—at more than 7,700 different organizations.

  • Awarded close to $1.7 million in grants to 220 organizations providing or planning to provide free medical or dental care.

  • Launched two websites:

    • By the end of the grant period, the Volunteers in Health Care website had an average of 145,000 hits and 18,100 user visits per month.
    • The RxAssist website, designed to help clinicians access free medications for uninsured patients, was expanded to help patients access free medications in January 2006. It had an average of 4.8 million hits and 153,300 user visits per month by the end of the grant period.
  • Established collaborative relationships with national and state organizations to promote its work.

  • Developed 12 manuals, 51 field reports, a newsletter and other materials. Offered 21 telephone-based workshops, leadership training sessions and a two-day summit to explore ways to improve access to pharmaceuticals.

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