Normally one would go to the doctor’s office when ill or for a regular checkup. The physician spends about 15 minutes with you and then you’re out the door. How does that make you feel? Are you getting enough attention? Imagine going to a medical office where you spend 30 to 60 minutes with a practitioner, according to our patients it makes a difference.

At Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) Clinic, first time patients get 60 minutes with a provider. After their first appointment, visits after that are approximately 30 minutes. The goal is to not only treat the disease, but treat the individual.

“We really get to know our patients. As a provider I have a much longer time then what I have in private practice. My appointments are scheduled for 30 minutes and if need be I can move them so I can spend more time with a patient,” said Kathi Harvey, DNP, FNP, VIM Clinic Nurse Practitioner.

When you meet with a patient for an extended period of time, you come to know them for more than just their disease. As a provider you understand how much a disease have impacted their life. Harvey says it’s about taking care of the person and getting to know them.

“Just giving them that time and letting them know that someone cares about them, is the treatment that they need the most,” said Harvey.

Tim Lustig is a new patient who heard about VIM through word of mouth. His health problems are high blood pressure and liver issues. Tim recently had his first appointment at VIM and he was more than satisfied. He’d never been to a doctor’s office before. It was very special.

“It was more than I expected. They were very professional and I was comfortable. [Alan] Eddison was easy to talk to and he asked me all the right questions. I’m happy I came here,” said Lustig. He’s extremely confident that VIM will turn his health around for the better. “Just talking with [Alan] Eddison for an hour and half, he asks questions that nobody has asked.”

VIM Clinical Director, Alan Eddison, DNP, ARNP, says the reason we’re able to spend quality time with our patients is because we don’t have a profit motive. Occasionally private clinics need to see a certain number of patients for financial reasons and that could affect the length of time they’ll spend with a patient.

Kathi Harvey examines a patient

Kathi Harvey examines a patient

Eddison is a firm believer that being able to obtain a diagnosis is about gathering history on a patient. That comes from developing an affinity with them and asking the right questions.

“If you listen to patients long enough they will often tell you what’s wrong with them. A patient may not know what’s wrong with them and that often needs to be coached out through conversation,” said Eddison. “People won’t come out and tell you right off the bat ‘this and that’ in regards to what’s going on in their lives. Many times people have things going on in their lives that bleed over into their medical problems.”

Having a trusted relationship with the patients enhances the care that’s provided. People are more likely to divulge what’s going on if they know you respect them, according to Eddison. Another benefit is the amount of volunteers and donors VIM has, Eddison decisively believes that allows us to give the level of care within our budget.

The VIM Clinic provides health services for uninsured Martin County residents. Patients don’t have Medicaid and must have a household income of $24,000 or less. For more information call (772) 463-4128 or online at vimclinic.net.