Barnegat Township Committee Gets Primer on Coastal VIM

Jun 16, 2017

People who do not have health insurance but have medical issues that need to be addressed can call on Coastal Volunteers in Medicine, located in Barnegat Township at 249 South Main St. (Route 9) in Suite 8. During a presentation at the township committee’s June 13 meeting, Larry Picarello, chairman of Coastal VIM’s board, said the facility is a free, non-urgent family health center treating patients without medical insurance who live in Southern Ocean County and who have a family income below 250 percent of the federal poverty level.

Services include primary and ongoing care; physicals and health screenings; women’s and family care; diabetes and other chronic disease management; diagnostic testing; hypertension clinic; prescription assistance; social service referrals; and health education.

“As the name would suggest, all our doctors, nurses and other staff members work as volunteers,” said Picarello.

He said VIM has about 70 total volunteers, of whom approximately 30 are clinicians. He said doctors are specialists or general practitioners. The medical director is Kimberly A. Hogan, M.D., a family practitioner.

“The other 40 volunteers do a variety of different things, from the reception desk to coordinating volunteer time,” Picarello said

Since opening nearly four years ago, the facility has seen close to 400 patients, covering an area stretching from Forked River to New Gretna.

“The numbers have been growing because so many don’t have health insurance,” said Picarello. “Many of the people we see work several part-time jobs, like waiters or waitresses, who, because they don’t get benefits (or) have a full-time job are unable to afford health insurance.”

Because it is a nonprofit organization, Coastal VIM relies on donations and grants to  cover an annual operating budget of under $100,000. Major partners and supporters include Seaview Orthopaedic, BioReference Laboratories and OceanFirst Bank.

“But we can always use help,” said Picarello. “We’ve set up a Go Fund Me page.”

He said Coastal VIM is open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. People wanting to make an appointment may call 609-384-0102.

“We hope to address their medical needs so that we can people out of the ER,” he said. “We have been very successful at doing that.”

Mayor Albert Bille said Picarello left numerous brochures for officials to peruse.

“We’re going to make some of these brochures available at town hall,” said Bille. “There is a tremendous need for this service.”

— Eric Englund

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