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Local Safety Net Clinics Seek a Few Good Doctors

Specialty care physicians and other medical professionals needed to serve low income, uninsured patients.

Volunteers Needed

"Head to Toe" Specialty Clinic for low income, uninsured patients.

*Saturday, May 19 : Loudoun Free Clinic, 224-B Cornwall St, Leesburg

*Saturday, June 2: Community Health Care Network, Bailey's Crossroads — 6196 Arlington Blvd, Falls Church

*Saturday , June 30: Prince William Area Free Clinic, St. Margaret's Clinic, (also for patients of the Family Health Connection) 13900 Church Hill Drive, Woodbridge

Two volunteer shifts: 8:30 a.m. - noon and 11 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Volunteers needed to fill the following slots:

*Registration Volunteers

*Translators

*Audiologists

*Nursing Volunteers

*Podiatrists

*Ophthalmologist/Optometrists

Volunteers must be 16 years or older. For medical professional roles, volunteers will need a valid Virginia license. On-site orientation provided. To volunteer, email manager@novaspeci... or call

571- 235-3577

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Alexandria resident Marie Markey volunteers her time to low-income, uninsured patients at the Arlington Free Clinic. Local safety-net clinics are looking for volunteers, particularly specialty care doctors and nurses.

When Marie Markey of Alexandria retired from U.S. Air Force as a physical therapist, she rolled up her sleeves and went to work helping those in need. Markey works as a volunteer twice each week at the Arlington Free Clinic, offering physical therapy to the clinic’s low income and uninsured patients.

“The clinic fills a huge gap,” said Markey. “We have people who walk in who don’t have access to medical care for basic illnesses like high blood pressure and diabetes.”

Markey is motivated by a sense of responsibility to give back to the community. “If everyone did their part, the world would be better place,” she said. “I had a patient once who was a construction worker. He’d had back surgery and needed physical therapy to recover fully. He didn’t have insurance and couldn’t afford to pay for therapy. If he hadn’t received free therapeutic services to help him recover, he would have lost his job.”

NOVA SPECIALTY ACCESS, a project of the Northern Virginia Health Services Coalition is looking for more volunteers like Markey to provide medical services to low-income, uninsured patients from local “safety-net” clinics. The project matches patients with local medical specialists who volunteer their services.

The coalition has reserved several days in May and June for medical professionals, such as specialty care doctors, nurses, and nurse practitioners, to volunteer at Head to Toe Specialty Clinics. The clinics will give patients enrolled at area safety-net clinics an opportunity to receive specialty health care services, including diabetic eye screening, foot care, diabetic nutrition counseling and audiology testing.

“The event is … an important initiative where community members have the opportunity to get the health screenings they need,” said Sterling resident Karen Rudat, nurse manager for Fairfax Community Health Care Network.

Project officials say their most urgent shortage is of physicians: “Our greatest volunteer needs are for audiologists, podiatrists and ophthalmologists,” said Ulrich. “If there are other specialists that come forward, we would add other services as well. The program is ongoing and we’re hoping to generate interest even if it is not on these specific dates.”

Health care professionals must hold a Virginia license and volunteer in an area that is consistent with their licensure.

VOLUNTEERS ARE CRITICAL to the mission of the clinics.

“We work with a fantastic group of volunteer physicians, mostly specialists. We are so grateful for their generosity as they give their time and talent to increase the quality and access to care,” said Dr. Jean Glossa, medical director, Community Health Care Network of Fairfax County and Molina Healthcare “Without them, I don’t know how some of our most vulnerable patients would be able to get the specialty care they need when they need it the most.”

Services and availability vary from clinic to clinic. To be eligible for service at the safety-net clinics, patients must be adults who have a household income of 200 percent or less than the federal poverty level and no health insurance. Ulrich suggested that those interested in the services visit http://novaclinics.org to find a clinic that is right for them.