Nonprofit Healthcare Center Changes Lives in Bergen County
Steve Adubato goes One-on-One with Amanda Missey, President & CEO, Bergen Volunteer Medical Initiative, to discuss how the nonprofit healthcare center changes the lives of low-income, uninsured people in the community, and is a model for healthcare across the nation.
"We are pleased to welcome Amanda Missey, President and Chief Executive Officer, at Bergen Volunteer Medical Initiative. Good to see you. Thanks. Our friends at Horizon told us all about what you're doing. And we asked them, "Who's out there, as partners, that are making a difference in the community when it comes to providing quality healthcare to people who don't have access?" By the way, how many people don't have access that we're talking about? There are thousands in Bergen County. It's a number that's kind of hard to pin down, because it's constantly changing. Millions across the nation? Millions across the nation. Thousands in Bergen County. What happens, Amanda...? You're very close to this. By the way, your tenth anniversary is gonna be in the Fall? Yes. Is that right? Yup. So... and people can go on the website and find out more. But I'm curious about this. For those of us who have coverage, we have health insurance, sometimes we can get so far away from it that we don't appreciate or understand what it's like not to? Right. Describe that. So if you don't have health insurance, you put off healthcare until you get... What does that mean? You put off healthcare? That means you just don't take care of yourself. You don't go to the doctor because it costs money, and then you get really really sick, and you go to the emergency room. And then? And then they take care of whatever your immediate problem is, and then say, "Go see your doctor." And you don't have a doctor. So... Devil's Advocate. If someone says, "Yeah, so you're getting taken care of?" But that's... it's not that simple? It is not. First of all, the cost is greater? Yes. But are you really dealing with the underlying causes of what...? No. You're not. Yeah, talk about that. No. So for people, particularly with chronic conditions... so say you're a diabetic, you go to the hospital because you've gone into a diabetic shock. They treat you, they turn you back out, say, "Go to your doctor." You don't have a doctor to go to. And so it's kind of a cycle. You end up back in the hospital. You could end up losing a leg. Yeah. Talk about your organization, specifically how you're able to help people who do not have the healthcare that they need. Okay. We actually are part of the Volunteers In Medicine network of free clinics. There are about 88 of them in the country. And the model is that we use volunteer clinicians, so doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, dietitians, physical therapists to provide free care for our patients..."