This post is paid advertising by United Way of Lebanon County
Imagine having to ration your life-saving medications in order to pay your electric bill. For many residents of Lebanon County with chronic diseases, like diabetes, this is a daily reality. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, individuals in our community were faced with difficult financial decisions, juggling their health expenses with their basic costs of living and often coming up short.
In this difficult year, access to healthcare is more important than ever. With hospitals and doctor’s offices over-extended and stretched thin, reliable free access to primary healthcare services is critical for uninsured and low-income adults in Lebanon County.
In 2019, United Way of Lebanon County saw the need for increased healthcare access for low-income adults in our community and decided to invest in the solution by offering a $20,000 grant to Lebanon Valley Volunteers in Medicine to support their Free Walk-in Clinic.
Lebanon Valley Volunteers in Medicine (LVVIM) provides absolutely free urgent care services and primary medical care services to uninsured, low-income adults in Lebanon County.
Patients seen in the free Walk-in Clinic receive full access to a broad range of health care services including no-cost primary medical care services, access to basic medical lab and x-ray services, referrals for specialty care, behavioral health and prescription services.
Healthcare providers at Volunteers in Medicine know that when a community member is living on the edge of poverty, one injury can be the difference between barely getting by and a financial crisis.
This was the case for 57-year old, Tom, who sustained a foot-injury in the spring of this year. Since it was not a work injury, Tom used his health insurance benefits to assist him in paying for the treatment. Unfortunately, he was unable to return to work as a production line worker because of his physical limitations and his health and short-term disability insurance benefits soon stopped.
Tom was out of work, uninsured, and could no longer pay to receive treatments for his foot injury. On top of that, Tom was struggling to afford other medications he needed to maintain his health and began to ration his insulin to manage his diabetes.
That’s when Tom found the free clinic at Lebanon Valley Volunteers in Medicine. Tom was seen at LVVIM in May 2020. He received a physical examination and was referred for blood work and an Xray of his foot. Additionally, Tom was given a 30-day supply of insulin and other medications. Tom met with a Volunteers in Medicine Social Worker to complete an application for medical assistance. His medical assistance application was approved, and he was able to resume treatments with his prior providers including seeing his orthopedic doctor.
While Tom is still not able to return to work because of his unresolved orthopedic injury and his work-related restrictions, he is now able to manage his pre-existing medical conditions, treat his injury and access reliable healthcare. Had LVVIM not been available to Tom, he would have most likely continued to ration his medication or presented to the Emergency Room with more serious medical issues.
This year, many individuals in our community found themselves unable to work and without healthcare benefits. Persons that were previously employed with healthcare benefits may have found themselves either unemployed or working greatly reduced hours with a loss of benefits.
Lebanon Valley Volunteers in Medicine is seeing an uptick of patients that previously worked, had health benefits, and are now in need of basic health care services to help them get through the COVID-19 health and economic crisis.
While some may have the ability to pay out of pocket for health benefits and prescription medications, many just did without. United Way of Lebanon County offers FamilyWize discount prescription cards to families and individuals who struggle to afford their medications. This year alone, 388 people in Lebanon County used free FamilyWize prescription cards, saving $26,514 in prescription costs.
In addition to the $20,000 grant to the LVVIM Walk-in Clinic, United Way also granted the organization a $4,730 emergency COVID-19 relief grant to help the organization cover unexpected expenses caused by the pandemic to pay for sanitation supplies, masks, gowns, and other personal protective equipment.
For people in dire situations, Lebanon Valley Volunteers in Medicine is a ray of hope. Hundreds of community members have accessed the free care provided by LVVIM and with your help, these services will continue to be available for members of our community who need them.
To help provide quality healthcare services for people like Tom, donate to United Way of Lebanon County. Support for our social services are critical during this time of crisis. Your gift to United Way supports youth and education, workforce development, and basic needs like healthcare and housing.
With a single gift, you can make a difference in the lives of hundreds of community members. Visit igfn.us/f/2kzo/n or text Give4Impact to 41444 to make your gift today. Donations can also be mailed to United Way – 801 Cumberland Street, PO Box 1164, Lebanon, PA 17042. Thank you for being a force for change in our community as we reimagine, rebuild and recover from the COVID-19 crisis.