Volunteering and offering charity healthcare services will give you a significant advantage over other medical practices.

As physician practices continue to invest dollars into marketing their practices, it may be an advantage to routinely apply what has been considered a fifth “P” in the marketing mix – Philanthropy.

Philanthropy plays a significant role in building relationships, developing trust and increasing your credibility in the public eye. With the increasing number of uninsured people in underserved communities, the many people categorized as the working poor, and the rise of people who are now relying on Medicaid, doctors can find many opportunities to help strengthen and rebuild their communities.

According a report from the Kaiser Commission, “The number of non-elderly uninsured reached 49.1 million in 2010. Decreasing the number of uninsured was a key goal of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), which will provide Medicaid or subsidized coverage to qualifying individuals with income up to 400% of poverty.”

Here are 3 ways your practice can participate in providing charity healthcare services in your community:

  1. Donate your time. Most volunteer programs and free clinics rely on physicians in private practices to donate a few days or half-day sessions a month. This allows the physician to set clear parameters around the level and timing of charity care commitments.
  2. Participate in referral networks. Through participation in referral networks, physician’s commit to accepting a certain number of uninsured patients into their practices and agree to treat these patients at no charge or at a greatly reduced price.
  3. Connect and Encourage. Both free clinics and referral networks have grown out of the efforts of a committed physician and other health professionals who have tapped their colleagues’ and persuaded them to volunteer. Connect and encourage colleagues to see volunteer activities as a purposeful alternative that allows them to honor their professional obligation to care for the uninsured and working poor.

Do you feel there are not enough hours in the day to commit to volunteering? Even a few hours a week or per month at a local free clinic, offering a range of primary care services, health education, or prescription drugs, can make a huge impact on your community.

Click on the following link to download the Kaiser Commission Key Facts on Medicaid and the Uninsured.