TAP-IN Launches in Cleveland
Resource type: News
The American Health Initiative |
Area Program Looks to Recruit Retired Medical Professionals, Respond to Uninsured CLEVELAND, Oct 14, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — As the number of uninsured reaches 46.6 million nation-wide, the demand for free health clinics that rely on healthcare professionals to donate their time rises. According to a Families USA report released in September 2008, family health insurance premiums in the state rose by 76.4 percent, while median earnings only rose by 8.9 percent. This trend puts many more Ohio residents at risk of joining the ranks of the uninsured and increases the demand for free clinic services. These clinics are in great need of primary care physicians, specialists, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, psychiatrists, and social workers to provide the comprehensive healthcare that area residents would otherwise, not receive. At the same time clinics are faced with a downward trend in volunteerism among younger, actively participating clinicians. That’s where a non-profit program called TAP-IN, www.tap-in.org, 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, North Carolina and Georgia, chose Cleveland due to the well established network of free clinics already in place and the concentration of retired health professionals in the greater metropolitan area. TAP-IN is currently working with three clinics in the area: The Free Medical Clinic of Greater Cleveland, North Coast Health Ministry, and the Lorain County Free Clinic. 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 profession 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 www.tap-in.org 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. TAP-IN.org was founded by The American Health Initiative ( www.americanhealthinitiative.org) 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.