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Editor's Correspondence
April 22, 2002

Volunteerism in the Care of the Uninsured

Arch Intern Med. 2002;162(8):947. doi:

The article by Barnhill et al1 on utilization of volunteer health care professionals for the care of the uninsured in Florida is both timely and important, particularly in the current economic climate.

I wish to report on a not-for-profit physician-sponsored organization of volunteer health care providers, HealthReach NY, operating in Queens, NY, and established in 1998. The program is community based and modeled after the Reach Out2 programs sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the We Care program sponsored by the state of Florida. Both provide technical assistance and advice. The physicians are in full-time primary or specialty care private practice throughout the borough. A central administrative structure coordinates and monitors care. Access to care is through multiethnic community organizations that host on-site case managers sponsored by HealthReach NY. A computerized telehealth network provides direct linkage between community sites to a central data bank. Two major voluntary hospitals and 3 private groups provide the supporting services such as laboratory, imaging, and outpatient and inpatient services.

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