Coastal Volunteers in Medicine has a new location, centrally sited at 53 Nautilus Dr., Suite B-1, Manahawkin. An open house is slated for Aug. 20.
Coastal VIM is a free non-emergency family clinic for those without medical insurance who live in Southern Ocean County, New Gretna and Chatsworth and who have a family income below 250 percent of the federal poverty level.
Many situations can befall working people that can lead them to the organization’s services. Loss of a job due to illness is just one example.
Patient demographics for the year 2017 found that of 292 active patients, 55 percent were female and 45 percent male. Forty percent were Hispanic; 60 percent were non-Hispanic.
Ages of patients using CVIM were almost evenly divided among patients in their 20s though 50s, then dropped to 15 percent of patients being in their 60s and only 1 percent in their 70s.
Started five years ago, the Coastal VIM clinic was formerly in Barnegat. Its new space in the Nautilus Health Center building was donated by Hackensack Meridian Health.
Summarized Larry Picarello, chairman of the group’s board of directors, in a June letter to recent donors, “Through the generosity of Hackensack Meridian Hospital, Coastal has just opened a new clinic space that is more suited to privacy and is more in keeping with our philosophy of “Culture of Caring.”
“Your support will enable us to expand our mission to serve the medical needs of the uninsured in our community. Our service is free and is providing quality health care to over 700 patients since our inception in 2013.”
Coastal VIM is not a walk-in clinic nor an emergency room and requires preregistration by calling 609-384-0102.
Coastal VIM receives no government funding and runs entirely on private grants and donations. The medical staff is all volunteer: doctors, advanced nurse practitioners, nurses and administrative assistants.
One hundred percent of its operations are supported by financial donations and in-kind contributions. “Your donation pays for the support of those volunteers and the many administrative and medical requirements that are necessary to support a clinic,” Picarello thanked donors.
“It is only with the help of the benefactors in our community that we can service so many people who otherwise would go without health care and be forced to resort to more expensive and less efficient emergency room care.”
Thankful Clients From Many Walks of Life
CVIM spokeswoman Barbara Truncellito spoke with several clients whose experiences tell the story of the need of care for people who may be termed the “working poor” or in a “transitional” phase. Below are her summaries of what the clients wished to share with readers.
• Paul Kelly lives in Beach Haven West with his wife Maria. A few years ago he got hurt at his job, couldn’t work, and therefore couldn’t afford health insurance. When he heard of CVIM, he felt ashamed to reach out. He was ashamed he couldn’t afford health care. But the professional care he received helped him to overcome his fears. More, the personal care and follow-up helped him to rise above any inhibitions and move on with his life. Today, Kelly is working and pays for his own health care. He is grateful to Coastal for helping him out during a most stressful time. He says, “I’ll tell everyone and anyone about the great care and attention I received.”
• Robert (Bob) Breukman credits the CVIM with saving his life. His symptoms were diagnosed correctly, and through the influence of the nursing staff, Breukman was able to get two stents put in at Deborah Heart and Lung Center. The doctors were amazed he didn’t have a heart attack. He’s recovering and back to work.
Breukman and his wife live in Forked River. They both work. They do not have enough disposable income to afford health care. He says, “I believe I’m sitting here speaking with you because of the intervention and professionalism of the staff. I have some friends who cannot afford insurance. One of them recently died because of lack of primary care.”
• A female who wished her name to be withheld said, “I live in Little Egg Harbor with my husband, who is six years my senior. When we moved here, I couldn’t find work that offered healthcare benefits. I wasn’t sure what to do. My husband was on Medicare, but we couldn’t afford care for me. Then, I saw an ad in the church bulletin for CVIM. I called and received an appointment. The care and concern I received was as good as or better than I’ve received in a traditional doctor’s office. I can’t praise them enough for their wonderful work.”
The clinical services offered by Coastal VIM include primary and ongoing care, physicals and health screenings, women’s and family care, diabetes and other chronic disease management, diagnostic testing, hypertension clinic, prescription assistance, social service referrals and health education.
More information about eligibility and other frequently asked questions are answered on the website at coastalvim.org. There is also a Facebook page.
The website also has information about how to donate.
A recent cocktail fundraiser hosted by The Gables Inn and Restaurant in Beach Haven also served to introduce donors to details of the new location.
The clinic is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Additional hours are scheduled according to clinician availability. To make an appointment, call 609-384-0102. Spanish-speaking personnel are available.