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

Program to provide indigent care using retired physicians

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.