Forum Session

Necessary but Not Sufficient? Physician Volunteerism and the Health Care Safety Net
April 2, 2004


Eileen Salinsky


This meeting examined the role of physician-sponsored charity care in meeting the needs of the uninsured and explored new and emerging policy options to support and encourage physician volunteerism. Speakers described models to facilitate charity care activities, including free clinics and organized referral networks, and discussed factors helping or hindering physician willingness to provide charity care services. The discussion considered how volunteer efforts relate to publicly subsidized efforts to improve access, including Medicaid, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, community health centers, and public hospitals. The discussion also addressed issues arising from recent and proposed policy changes to promote volunteer activities, including the impact of expanding Federal Tort Claim Act malpractice coverage to volunteers serving in free clinics.


Patricia H. White, MPH, MPA, Administrator, West Virginia Health Right, and Vice President, Board of Directors, National Association of Free Clinics; Paul N. Uhlig, MD, Associate Professor of Surgery, Cardiothoracic Surgery Section, Dartmouth Medical School; Vince Ventimiglia, JD, Health Policy Director (Majority Staff), Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, U.S. Senate; Kimá Joy Taylor, MD, MPH, Health Legislative Assistant, Office of Sen. Paul Sarbanes

Related Materials

More information available in the accompanying Background Paper.

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