Thirteen percent of the people living in Hamilton County – around 60,000 people – have no health insurance. If they have a chronic health condition -- and many do – until a few years ago they had few options. But in 2011 Volunteers in Medicine opened a clinic in Chattanooga.
There are four V.I.M. clinics in Tennessee. All the care they provide is completely free. The first V.I.M.clinic was started by Dr. Jack McConnell. He had retired to Hilton Head island in South Carolina where at that time in the early 1990’s one out of every three people were uninsured. Then as now many retired medical professionals were living on the island. In 1994, Dr. McConnell with the help of many of those retired professionals opened the first free health clinic on the island.
There are now 88 V.I.M. clinics across the country.
Richard Winham talked to the executive director of the V.I.M. clinic here in Chattanooga, Ashley Wolfe-Evans and the medical director, Dr. Robert Bowers.