Volunteers In Medicine make a big difference - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

EYE ON HEALTH

Volunteers In Medicine make a big difference

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Debra Owens found herself in a position she never expected to be in.   

Owens says "I represent the new face of people who need help with their health insurance."

She lost her job and suddenly found herself without health care.

"It was just difficult not being able to go to the doctor or see a rheumatologist who I really needed to see," Owens says.

That's when Debra learned about Volunteers In Medicine. They provide nearly two million dollars a year in medical coverage to patients like Debra who have fallen through the health care cracks.  

These are patients who would normally have nowhere to turn except the emergency room, costing us all..

Doctor Robert Bowers is the medical director.

Dr. Robert Bowers says "From a community point of view, it helps lessen the load makes a big difference."

"Dr. Bowers says the patients they see fall into three main categories. They are diabetics, those with elevated cholesterol, and high blood pressure."  

He went on to say in addition to treating patients who suffer from some of the most common conditions, they are also able to make some life saving diagnosis as well.

Dr. Bowers says "We'll pick up a cancer a month, breast cancer, lung, a lot of skin cancer."

And that's when patients are sent off to partnering agencies like Project Access for specialty care.

Debra is one of about five hundred patients seen every year at Volunteers in Medicine. She says Rheumatoid arthritis is a crippling disease if left untreated, and she's definitely thankful she was able to get the help she so desperately needed.

Debra Owens says  "I'm very thankful because without Volunteers in Medicine I would not be doing as well as I'm doing now and I would not be able to get the medicine that I need."

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