I cannot begin to tell you how inspiring it is for me, personally and professionally, to lead such a special organization and to see on a daily basis all the people who have a future because of the care they receive at CVIM through the support of our volunteers, donors and community partners. The desire to save and improve lives is at the core of all we do.
Our Chester County region may be the healthiest and wealthiest in the Commonwealth, but hidden poverty exists in every zip code. In fact, in fiscal year 2017 alone we saw a 13% increase in our number of patients and a 17% increase in visits. It is predicted that the repeal of the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), will lead 4 million people across the nation to forgo insurance in 2019. Here in the Chester County region more people than ever will need CVIM for their medical and dental care.
CVIM receives no reimbursement from insurance companies or governmental agencies for the totally free patient care we provide. All of our financial support comes from our community donors. We exist because you believe in us and will continue to remain true to our mission of meeting the healthcare needs of uninsured adults, children and seniors who would otherwise have nowhere else to turn for care. It is an incredible privilege for CVIM to touch people’s lives in such a profound way.
President & CEO
After a comprehensive physical exam, a thorough review of her medical history and symptoms, and a blood drawl, the medical team was able to get a full picture of Irene’s health. The results were in and Irene was diagnosed with hypertension, obesity and diabetes – three health conditions she could not afford to leave untreated any longer without facing serious health consequences. Irene knew it would take a lot of help to get her health in order and worked with her new healthcare team to connect her with the services that would be most urgently important – a Diabetes Case Manager, nutrition counselor, and wellness and exercise classes. As Irene learned about and implemented a new healthy eating and exercise routine, she began to lose weight and see significant improvements in her health. Her weight was down by 16 pounds and the medications and lifestyle changes were having a significant impact on getting the hypertension and diabetes under control. Continuing on her wellness journey, Irene utilized CVIM’s services for primary care, women’s health, mammography, eye care and dental health to keep her whole body functioning well. Not only is Irene now better able to take care of herself thanks to the comprehensive care she receives at CVIM, but she is better able to care for her loved ones, too!
Up with the sun and working past dusk, Eric’s life on the farm requires long, physical days, but it is rewarding work for he and his wife. More than 15 years ago Eric had to forgo his health insurance coverage. Like so many others, Eric’s long hours just weren’t enough to cover the ever-increasing insurance premiums. Young and able-bodied, Eric managed to go without seeing a doctor for many years after he lost his insurance coverage. That all changed abruptly in his thirties when Eric had a heart attack. He was rushed to Penn Medicine Chester County Hospital where he was hospitalized while he recovered. When it came time to discharge Eric to a cardiologist and primary care physician, the staff at the hospital knew Eric would need a lot of support to regain his cardiovascular health and to prevent another heart attack in the future. Uninsured, there were limited options for Eric, but a referral to CVIM would give him the resources he needed to get back on his feet at no cost. CVIM’s volunteer cardiologist saw Eric for follow up on his heart health and he also received compassionate primary care and supportive specialty services to help get him caught up the many health needs he was forced to neglect without insurance. It wasn’t long after becoming a patient at CVIM that Eric was faced with another life-changing event - he was diagnosed with cancer. Eric was able to receive cancer treatment that saved his life through CVIM’s partnership with Main Line Health’s Paoli Cancer Center. His team of CVIM doctors and nurses at CVIM arranged for his treatment and kept up with his progress. Now in better health and armed with the knowledge he needs to take care of his health, Eric shared how grateful he is for the volunteers and staff at CVIM who keep fighting for him and others like him.
During their search they became used to facing language barriers, limited services and financial strain, but when they arrived at CVIM all of those concerns were laid to rest. Each member of the family had their own needs – heart health, medications, women’s services, pediatrics, dental care – and each need was able to be addressed at CVIM’s healthcare center. The children received vaccinations and examinations from volunteer pediatricians, including hearing tests, eye exams, and sports physicals. Dental hygiene appointments helped the family achieve and maintain good oral health and when Mauricio’s daughter needed orthodontic work done to improve her bite, CVIM’s volunteer orthodontist made it possible for her smile to match her vibrant spirit. As parents, Mauricio and his wife Reyna are thankful for the opportunity to prioritize their health so they can provide for their family and be active in their community. Mauricio’s words best express the impact having a healthcare home has made on his family “It’s taken worries aside because if we can keep ourselves healthy we can be working and productive every day, raising our kids.”
The program provides psychiatric, psychological and outpatient counseling and medications as part of our patient-centered medical home model of care. Primary and specialty healthcare teams work side by side with social services and behavioral health professionals to allow for smooth referrals to behavioral health services, providing seamless support to our patients and avoiding the escalation of manageable mental health issues to a crisis level.
Marie, with no dental insurance and unable to access affordable dental care, spent years suffering in silence from significant oral pain due to extensive periodontal disease. Both she and her husband worked long hours to make ends meet—Maria on an assembly line and her husband as an employee of a waste management company. During her first visit, five cavities were discovered in Marie’s mouth as a result of the periodontal disease. Her cavities were filled and she was scheduled for regular dental hygiene appointments to help regain and maintain a healthier mouth. Despite Marie’s diligence with her oral hygiene and maintaining a strict follow-up schedule, the effects of the periodontal disease required more aggressive treatment. CVIM’s volunteer periodontist performed osseous surgery on Marie’s gums. The procedure allows the periodontist to clean out the area around the base of the teeth, reducing both the amount of bacteria present and the size of the pockets in the unhealthy gums that were allowing the bacteria to take hold. Marie’s gum tissue is now healthier and she continues to follow up every three months so the dental team can closely monitor her oral health.