Have you heard? Puget Sound Christian Clinic’ ability to provide free health care is at risk because our volunteer health care professionals may lose their malpractice insurance. Currently, malpractice insurance for volunteers is available through the state, at no cost, for health care professionals who volunteer at organizations that are enrolled in the program. This is known as the Volunteer Retired Provider Program, or VRPP.
PSCC is the largest user of the program in the state of Washington with over 90 volunteer health care professionals actively enrolled! We estimate that if VRPP is eliminated, 60-70 of our volunteers will need to resign because they will not have malpractice insurance. Clearly, we will have to reduce clinic hours if that happens!
PSCC is not the only free clinic in the state that will be impacted if VRPP is eliminated however. There are almost 40 free clinics in Washington and together, we provide approximately 90,000 patient visits annually for low-income uninsured individuals and families.
The prospect of the state cutting the VRPP is especially frightening when we realize that in addition to the thousands of people last year who lost state-funded health coverage, and the 30,000 who lost Medicaid or Basic Health this year, even more cuts are probable! Washington’s Basic Health and Children’s Health Insurance Programs are on the list of programs to be cut or eliminated. The safety net is shrinking!
So if the State cuts VRPP, where will our low-income and uninsured neighbors go to receive the health care that they need?
We’ve all heard that the projected state budget deficit is billions of dollars. The VRPP costs less than $150,000 per year. Yet, it saves millions of dollars in health care costs that otherwise would be absorbed by hospitals and an already overburdened health care system.
We need your help! Our patients need your voice! Would you contact your legislators and Governor Gregoire to urge them to continue funding for the state’s Volunteer Retired Provider Program?
Here’s a link to a letter you can use as a sample to write your own…or just personalize this one.
If you need help locating your legislators contact information, click here.