Project Community: Volunteers in Medicine working to serve the under served in the Lowcountry

Ivan Yunga is a father of two who lives in Bluffton and works construction on Hilton Head Island.

He has diabetes, and back in 2013, he suffered from a heart attack.

With no health insurance, treatment was expensive.

Luckily, he was able to turn to Volunteers in Medicine.

“At this clinic, they don’t care about the situations. They care about us and our problems,” Yunga says.

The care he received helped him get back on his feet and got him back to work as quickly as possible.

“I am able to make enough money to support my 85-year-old mom and my relatives back in my country,” says Yunga.

Ivan is just one of the clinic’s 12,000 active patients.

600 volunteers make it all possible.

Volunteer physicians represent 23 medical specialties offering disease management, dental care, women’s wellness, mental health services and more.

“We save the island about $12 million in retail medical services. We save the hospital over $6 million in uncompensated care,” says Dr. Raymond Cox, Executive Director of Volunteers in Medicine, Hilton Head Island.

Volunteers in Medicine aims to keep people at work and children in school.

Dr. Cox says the clinic is crucial as it provides care to those who make the island’s tourism possible.

“Everybody thinks of Hilton Head as a wealthy island. A lot of the folks that we serve are the folks that help to support the industries that we have here,” says Dr. Cox.

While the volunteer physicians and nurses give their time to provide their services to patients, they say they’re the ones receiving healing.

“For years I worked for a salary. Now I just do it out of the goodness of my heart. You know, and when you give of yourself, you receive much more back,” says Dr. John Flannery, Physician with Volunteers in Medicine.

If you would like to volunteer or donate to the Hilton Head Island Volunteers in Medicine Clinic, click here.

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