Cuivre River grant helps Volunteers in Medicine serve patients in need

(L-R) Lake Saint Louis Volunteers in Medicine staff members Dr. Milton Kardesch, Sonja Dickherber, Christine Kamp, PA-C, and Sandy Curcio, RN received a $4,000 Operation Round Up grant from the Cuivre River Electric Community Trust. Funds will be used to purchase an automated external defibrillator machine and medications for uninsured patients who require prescription assistance. (Photo by Lonnie Tucker)

The Lake Saint Louis Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) Clinic received a $4,000 Operation Round Up grant from the Cuivre River Electric Community Trust to purchase an automated external defibrillator (AED) machine and medications for uninsured patients who require prescription assistance.

“The addition of the AED machine is vital in our efforts to diagnose patients who experience potential life threatening cardiac arrhythmias and to provide acute medical care through defibrillation,” says VIM Clinic Founder and President Dr. Maimuna Baig. “A defibrillator is used to apply electrical therapy stops the arrhythmia and allows the heart to reestablish an effective rhythm,” she explains.

Pharmaceuticals account for 63% of the clinic’s operating expenses. “Even with heavily discounted resources and grants from pharmaceutical companies the clinic purchases between $2,000 and $3,000 of prescription drugs each month,” says Dr. Milton Kardesch. “The Operation Round Up grant will go a long way towards making af¬fordable and no-cost prescription medication available to a growing number of new patients.”

With assistance from Drew Rector, President of SSM St. Joseph Hospital West, and others in the area, the VIM Clinic has provided medical service to more than 800 patients since the clinic opened in August of 2012. The vision for the clinic came from Dr. Baig who felt it was time to give back to her community. “I felt it was time for me to give back to the community in a substantial way,” says Dr. Baig. “A large portion of our community is excluded from basic healthcare services and I wanted to change this.”

“Numerous individuals and families are living without health care coverage in our communities due to the downturn in our economy. A majority of our patients are employed, working in entry level positions that provide no health care coverage or prescription benefits,” says Dr. Baig. “They are extremely grateful to receive high quality medical care and an opportunity to keep their medical problems under control by being provided necessary medications.”

The clinic relies solely on contributions and gifts to meet the needs of the people it serves, and is staffed by a team of health care volunteers. The team includes physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dietitians, social workers and clerks. In addition to general practice physicians, the team has specialists in the area of cardiol¬ogy, orthopedics, neurology, diabetes, nutrition, and has recently added mental health counselors.

The VIM Clinic is a nonprofit clinic that provides primary health care to uninsured adult residents of St. Charles, Lincoln, Warren and Montgomery counties. The volunteer run clinic is the third VIM Clinic to open in Missouri, joining clinics in St. Charles and Hannibal. The Lake Saint Louis clinic, located in the Lakeview Medical Building at 2 Harbor Bend Court Suite #101, is open on Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. To learn more about the clinic or to schedule an appointment call 636.561.3133.

The Operation Round Up grant was made possible by Cuivre River Electric Cooperative members who participate in the program, donating from one to 99 cents each month with electric bill payments. Their contributions help address unmet needs in the areas of health, youth, education, home weatherization, community and emer¬gency services in portions of Lincoln, Pike, St. Charles and Warren counties. To learn more about Operation Round Up and Cuivre River Electric Cooperative visit www.cuivre.com or call 800.392.3709.

Posted on Tuesday, October 30, 2012 at 2:19 pm