Colorado HMO Launches Time Bank to Provide Health-Related Volunteer Services

From 1993 to 1996, staff at the Rocky Mountain Health Maintenance Organization developed and implemented a pilot service-credit-banking program in Mesa County, Colo., called the Time Bank.

Service-credit-banking programs seek to help elderly people remain healthy, independent, and in their homes by enlisting volunteer caregivers to provide supportive services, such as transportation, medication monitoring, shopping and light housekeeping. As an incentive, each caregiver receives credits that can be redeemed for similar volunteer services.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Service Credit Banking in Managed Care national program.

Key Results

  • As of May 1997, there were 788 participants in the program; 228 were volunteers, and 42 of those had also received services.
  • Volunteers provided more than 40,000 hours of service since the start of the program.
  • The most frequently requested services were transportation for medical appointments and shopping, friendly visiting, respite care and minor home repair.