The Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine (LVIM) clinic is seeing an surge of patients seeking dental services.
- Clinic run mostly by volunteers
- Nonprofit recently received a county grant which subsidized hiring a full-time dentist, dental staff
- Many of the clinic's patients qualify for Obamacare, but still cannot afford co-pays
The clinic, located at 1021 Lakeland Hills Blvd, is run mostly by volunteers. LVIM provides free medical and dental care to low-income families in Polk County.
According to the nonprofit’s CEO, Robert Yates, LVIM has had more than 500 dental patients in the past two months. Yates believes the surge is due to the clinic receiving a grant from the county, which allowed it to hire a full time dentist and dental staff.
The clinic also has volunteer dentists and received five new volunteer physicians.
Even with the Affordable Care Act in place, the clinic reports seeing an increase in patients.
“It hasn’t slowed down at all,” said Yates.
Yates said many of the patients qualify for the Affordable Care Act. They have health care with affordable premiums available to them, but they have trouble affording the co-pays and prescriptions, so many of them return to Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine.
To be eligible to be a Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine patient, one must:
- live in Polk County
- be employed
- be uninsured
- income must not exceed 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL)
The clinic is hosting its annual fundraiser, The Lakeland Derby, on Friday, April 29, at the Lake Mirror Promenade from 5:30 - 9:30 p.m. There will be swan boat races, live music, fireworks, and a derby hat contest. The non-profit is trying to raise $1.4 million throughout this year.
To find out more about Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine and their efforts, visit lvim.net.