VIM to Pilot Shared Medical Visits

Volunteers in Medicine Berkshires (VIM) has been awarded a $35,000 two-year grant from the Massachusetts Medical Society and Alliance Charitable Foundation to develop and put into place a program of shared medical appointments (SMAs) focusing on one or more chronic diseases.  This model will break new ground for VIM, according to Board Chair Arthur Peisner.

 “VIM Berkshires hopes to create a template that can be used by other clinics in the VIM network and beyond,” said Peisner.  “Shared Medical Appointments are a new concept in management of patients with chronic conditions and we hope this model will enable us to provide quality care while maximizing the contribution of our volunteer clinicians.”

VIM plans to use the SMA model to expand the participation of many potential volunteer specialists and sub-specialists.  The SMAs will include 90 -120 minute sessions with 6-12 participants in each session.  The patients will share the same chronic diagnosis.

“Most of VIM Berkshires’ patients work full time but have no insurance,” said VIM Co-Medical Director Matt Mandel.  “The burden of working ten-hour days, often at hard labor, coupled with low wages means little time and money for healthy lifestyle choices. We hope these SMAs will help us improve the quality of life and reduce the disease burden of our patients in the most efficient and supportive way possible.”