By Dennis Saver, MD, Chair, Indian River County Medical Society We Care & Public Health Committee
The We Care system is wholly dependent upon the generosity of you, the volunteering physician, in giving a gift of service to see a qualified indigent patient. This is never a requirement. It is always your option.
With 14,000 Indian River County residents having no insurance of any kind, including Medicaid, there will always be more need for access to medical services than can be reasonably provided by volunteers. Nonetheless, each patient seen by a We Care volunteer physician is one more person helped.
Most of the time, the limiting factor in helping this group of indigent patients is getting subspecialist appointments scheduled. The process of having the patient qualified for charity care by the Hospital District works generally well. The We Care program has backlogs of patients who have had primary care/medical screening, but have to wait in the que for access to needed subspecialty care.
So.....we are in need of some Heros! Please consider "signing up" for a few more patients this month to help those who have been waiting a long time -- often 3 to 12 months. Below are some stats on waiting lists and examples of the diagnoses for which consults have been pending. Call 772-794-7422 and tell one of our 3 nurse coordinators (Leigh Anne, Kay, or Barbara) how many extra you can do this month. Thank you!
General surgery: 42; dx: hernias, gall bladders
Orthopedics: 115; dx: knee pain, back pain
Urology: 17; dx: hematuria
Cardiology: 62; dx: abnormal EKG, palpitations, chest pain
GI: 106; dx: heme+stool, abd pain
Pulmonary: 22; dx: COPD
(Not a We Care Volunteer Physician? If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Leigh Anne Riddle, RN, at 772-794-7422.)