PracticeLink Magazine

Winter 2018

The career development quarterly for physicians of all specialties, PracticeLink Magazine provides readers with feature articles, compensation stats, helpful job search tips—as well as recruitment ads from organizations across the U.S.

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PracticeLink.com W INTER 2018 63 the Q uality of life issue in an 18-wheeler. Patients come from all over Appalachia to be seen. Some even spend the night in the parking lots for a chance to see a doctor. "They're very appreciative, so that's a big reward of being a provider there," says Aloi, who has served with The Health Wagon annually for almost 15 years. "The fact that we were able to practice medicine just for the pure sake of medicine for the fellow man without respect to compensation … makes for a purely enjoyable experience, whether it's for one day or one week," says Sadural. "One comes back enriched and invigorated, hopefully even renewed in their faith in their life's work and purpose." To allow volunteers to make a big impact in a short amount of time, The Health Wagon stays highly organized. "It's remarkably efficient," Aloi says. "Your time won't be wasted." Because The Health Wagon has a permanent presence in the area, they are able to help with continuity of care after a physician's trip is over. "We tailor patient schedules to fit the needs of our volunteers," says Fleming. "Volunteers can come for a few days or for a couple weeks —whatever works best for them." Plus, physicians from all specialties are welcome. Volunteers cover their own travel and lodging, and out-of-state providers must have a temporary volunteer medical license through the Virginia Board of Medicine. The Health Wagon recommends allowing two or more weeks for this. Aloi says the state of Virginia typically makes licensing a smooth and fairly inexpensive process. "For people coming out of state, it's very easy to stay licensed." Volunteering with The Health Wagon or a similar stateside organization is a chance to learn more about life in other parts of the u .S. and develop a deeper understanding of others. "I'm originally from Chicago," says Sadural. "I'd never been to Appalachia, and I admit that I had my own preconceived notions." Volunteering with The Health Wagon opened his eyes to what life was like for patients who did not qualify for Medicaid, yet could not afford health care premiums. "I gained a deeper understanding and appreciation of these people" Sadural says. "For me, that was the biggest joy — being accepted into their community and allowed to learn from them." For more information about serving with The Health Wagon, visit thehealthwagon.org. Making a difference without making a trek: The MAVEN Project If you are looking for a flexible opportunity closer to home, you can't get much closer than volunteering right from your laptop. New telehealth technologies have made that possible, and innovative nonprofits like The MA ve N Project are using them to overcome geographic barriers and fill gaps in health care access. "What we're trying to be is Match.com meets Peace Corps for volunteer doctors," says Lisa Shmerling, JD, MP h , executive director of The MA ve N Project. "We're really targeting health care organizations where a primary care provider is accountable for the care of uninsured and/or Medicaid patients that have a problem getting access." The time commitment is a minimum of just four hours per month, with no travel time required. By pairing volunteer physicians with understaffed clinics, The MA ve N Project helps rural and low-income patients who normally wouldn't get timely access to health care. In many cases, timing makes all the difference. Sh merl i ng reca l ls the stor y of one hematologist volunteer who realized a patient had a treatable form of cancer. "The patient was going to go into renal failure within days if they didn't get seen," says Shmerling. "We were told that the patient was scheduled to see an oncologist, but not for another month. So, that was an example where we really escalated the issue, and the patient was seen

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