JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Volunteers in Medicine of Jacksonville was established in 2003.
CEO Jennifer Ryan says back then, it was during a time when employers stopped providing health insurance coverage. Co-founders Dr. James Burt and nurse, Dottie Dorion saw that there was a need in the community.
“For people that are working, working hard, they were seeing a rising cost in health insurance," said Ryan. "So, they wanted to get together volunteers to come and provide specialty care and primary care to members in our community."
Ryan told First Coast News that a lot of the cases they see at the clinic are chronic conditions. Many of their patients are dealing with diabetes, hypertension and asthma.
The local non-profit provides free medical services to those who are working, vulnerable and/or uninsured here on the First Coast. Linda Mello, a nurse at Volunteers in Medicine, says they are able to manage these conditions.
"We see patients that make too much money in their job to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough money to be able to afford health insurance," said Mello. "It’s a big need."
Betty Zinns has been a patient at the clinic for five years.
“Women’s health is very important and when you go there, the doctor is very knowledgeable," said Zinns. "And when you go to talk with them, they listen and they care about women’s health."
Ryan says they are always looking for volunteers at the clinic for providers, nurses and staff.