Polk County Medical Society – Volunteer Physician Network
July 1 – June 30, 2019 Snapshot
- Total # of referrals last fiscal year: 4000+
- Free Clinics: 52
- Serving Iowans 200% below federal poverty guidelines
- Almost 500 Volunteer Physician Specialists providing free specialty care in over 60 specialties
Total # of specialists participating in the network: Almost 500 – Recruitment is ongoing, in over 60 health care specialties to provide free specialty health services and is THE ONLY PROGRAM PROVIDING ACCESS TO FREE SPECIALTY HEALTHCARE IN THE STATE OF IOWA for Iowans at risk, low income, uninsured or underinsured and 200% below federal poverty guidelines. VPN also provides interpretive services for all the specialty healthcare appointments as federally mandated in over 24 languages.
The Polk County Medical Society (PCMS) Volunteer Physician Network (VPN) is a commitment by doctors from Polk, Warren, and Dallas counties to The ONLY ACCESS IN THE STATE OF IOWA for donated free specialty care to those in need AT NO COST. The VPN receives referrals from the Free Clinics of Iowa, community health centers, Polk County Health Department, and other free clinics from across the entire state of in Iowa for persons who are uninsured, underinsured, or undocumented; whose income level is at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines and who are at risk, no matter gender, age or race. These patients are not eligible for any government funded programs (screening for eligibility is done by the safety net clinic).
Through this vital access to specialty care program, community health centers, free clinics, and safety net clinic providers are able to refer patients to a specialist when needed at no cost to the patient. The referring clinics only manage general health care issues not specialty services. The VPN allows these patients to receive free donated care they need instead of not seeking care or ending up in the ER with possible loss of life or extreme critical stage of disease. It provides those services with dignity and respect, no staff or other patients know they are receiving the care as a donated service, and it allows them to regain quality of life and return to their communities to work and school and be able to contribute and be productive members of society.
Polk County Medical Society Program Committed to Delivering Free Specialty Care for Iowans Most In Need
Iowa has been a recognized leader in delivering specialty medical care to individuals who ‘slip through the cracks by the Polk County Medical Society’s Volunteer Physician Network (VPN) program. Iowans who are uninsured, underinsured, with income below 200% of the federal poverty level and who do not qualify for government funded programs have access through this program.
The VPN free specialty care services are an Iowa asset to be valued and prized, one that brings together the physicians, hospitals, surgery centers, free clinics, and those committed to helping patients without access. An underinsured patient often can’t even afford the minimum deductible. As a working partnership we are changing lives. We take care of Iowans so they may lead a more healthy and productive life and be contributing members of our community.
July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019 the VPN provided over $9 million in donated specialty care and hospitalizations from a network of almost 500 volunteer physicians, Des Moines hospitals and surgery centers. The VPN has provided almost 4000 patients in need of specialty care referred from 52 community health centers and free clinics throughout Iowa.
The VPN is a cohesive specialty network that eliminates a physician trying to find another specialist or hospital to accommodate a patient in need. Through this program an individual who desperately needs specialty care can receive it in a timely manner with dignity in the doctor’s office. Through VPN we are providing these services administratively for a fraction of the cost. Patients would regress to not getting the care they need when they need it. The economic costs of a system without VPN are untold; the personal trauma and costs these patients would incur are more than any individual should bear.
VPN is performing a service that is unlike those performed by our free clinics and health centers. We recognize and applaud the significant contribution of Iowa’s free primary care clinics; however, these valuable resources do not provide medical specialty care for their patients. It isn’t a matter of one of us or the other for funding; we are both important and critical to the health and wellbeing of Iowans. The VPN impacts the quality of life for Iowans through access to specialty care. This enables them to live a healthier life and return to work or school with dignity, becoming productive, contributing members of
Working Together to Improve Iowans Health and Well-Being