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Tap-In Launches In Atlanta – Area Program Looks To Recruit Retired Medical Professionals, Respond To Uninsured

Resource type: News

Medical News Today |

Original Source

As the number of uninsured in Georgia reaches 1.7 million residents, and 46 million nation-wide, the demand for free health clinic services that rely on healthcare professionals to donate their time rises. At a time when demand for services is increasing, these clinics are faced with a downward trend in volunteerism among younger, actively participating clinicians. These clinics are in great need of primary care physicians, specialists, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, psychiatrists, and social workers to provide the comprehensive healthcare that Atlantans would otherwise, not receive. According to the Georgia Free Clinic Network, last year 30,000 people were turned away due to insufficient capacity. That’s where a non-profit program called TAP-IN,, funded by The American Health Initiative, aims to fill in the gap.

TAP-IN is reaching out to connect the area’s retired and semi-retired health professionals with those who need them. TAP-IN does this by assisting the nation’s highest-quality free clinics to help meet the critical needs of their communities, by engaging health professionals living in and around them. TAP-IN which currently operates in the states of Virginia and North Carolina chose Atlanta due to the well established network of free clinics already in place and the concentration of retired health professionals in the greater metropolitan area.

Using the volunteer services of TAP-IN Clinicians provides benefits to both clinics and clinicians:

– Free clinics gain access to a pool of experienced clinicians to help meet their volunteer needs and expand services to the uninsured.

– The uninsured in the community, particularly those with chronic diseases are provided increased access to care by experienced clinicians.

– The community safety net is strengthened, and demand on already strained hospital emergency rooms and private physician offices is reduced, while achieving significant and quantifiable savings.

– Healthcare professionals are provided an opportunity to engage once more in a meaningful way by doing what they do best – practicing their chosen professional in an enjoyable and rewarding environment without the hassles of administrative paperwork.

Health professionals can learn about and register for the program through the Web site or by calling 877-605-3250. Interested volunteers will be matched with clinic needs, ideally leading to agreement between the volunteer and clinic to proceed. Program participants will have access to an online community to share ideas, interests and experiences. was founded by The American Health Initiative to provide a program to help meet critical needs of free clinics through the volunteer engagement of senior health professionals to care for the uninsured. Intended to be a national program, TAP-IN was introduced in the Spring of 2006 in Virginia and North Carolina in partnership with both the Virginia and North Carolina Free Clinic Associations. The program is supported by a two year initiating grant from The Atlantic Philanthropies.

Current Healthcare Facts:

There are currently more than 46 million Americans currently without health insurance. At present these uninsured turn to a complex safety net that includes physician offices, hospital emergency rooms, community health centers, and free clinics.

More than 1000 free clinics operating in 50 states are an increasingly important part of the health care safety net, accounting for more than 8.9 million patient visits annually.

Current estimates of retired health professionals in the United States include 164,000 physicians, 510,000 nurses, 32,000 dentists, 23,000 mental health providers, and 63,000 social workers.

Related Resources


Aging, Health

Global Impact:

United States


TAP-IN, volunteerism