By Doug Morin
Executive Director, Coachella Valley Volunteers in Medicine

For many people, access to healthcare is still a real issue here in the Coachella Valley. Some 50,000 to 70,000 Coachella Valley residents are still uninsured. People without preventive health care for chronic illnesses – such as diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol – go untreated and unmanaged, potentially creating much worse medical conditions for themselves.

State Senator Jeff Stone and officials with the Coachella Valley Volunteers in Medicine recently explained the importance of a new law that will bring expanded medical services to the region. Senate Bill 1261, authored by Senator Stone and recently signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown will expand medical care to California residents by allowing out-of-state doctors to acquire a California State Medical License at reduced cost, thus allowing them to volunteer their time and skills while visiting the state. This is great news because many retired and semi-retired doctors spend the winter here but the cost of obtaining a license was often prohibitive.

The mission of Coachella Valley Volunteers in Medicine is to provide no-charge primary health care to medically underserved adults residing in the Coachella Valley.  It’s a nonprofit organization that provides no-charge medical and dental care to low-income residents of the Coachella Valley who have no insurance, or are under-insured, and, they are here year-round. The Clinic provides basic primary medical care and dental services.  Eligible individuals must meet certain requirements, specifically, residency in the Valley, be low-income and have no insurance or be unable to access their insurance

Volunteers from all walks of life and with widely varied skills are the heart and soul of the clinic. From physicians to the college student answering the phones, patients are served by individuals who give selflessly of their time and talents to help their less-fortunate neighbors. We are always in need of additional volunteers!

Coachella Valley Volunteers in Medicine is important because it operates the only no-charge clinic in the area, who for whatever reason cannot get medical care anywhere else. CVVIM patients are all neighbors seeking primary care. CVVIM receives NO government or insurance reimbursements, and is fully funded through gifts, grants, donations and volunteer effort.

For more information on their programs and services, please visit their website at www.cvvim.org or call (760) 342-4414.

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