GIVING BACK

Telemedicine volunteer opportunity for newly retired, semi-retired DOs

Looking for a way to stay engaged in medicine? The MAVEN Project connects volunteer physicians with community health centers.

In states like California, where there are many Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs), defined by the government as a population-to-provider ratio of at least 3,500 to 1, community health centers are working to improve access to health care for patients who receive Medicaid benefits or are uninsured.

Almost half of U.S. community health centers serve patients who live in rural areas, where long travel distances and the scarcity of clinics can make access challenging.

The osteopathic profession is helping to add physicians where they are needed most and, now, so is The MAVEN Project, a volunteer network that links physicians to community health centers and other clinics in underserved communities.

The MAVEN Project

After the successful completion of pilot projects in California and Massachusetts, The MAVEN Project is now recruiting semi-retired and newly retired physicians to serve as medical volunteers for community health centers.

MAVEN Project volunteer physicians use telemedicine to overcome geographic barriers to health care.

“Imagine Match.com meets the Peace Corp for volunteer physicians,” says executive director Lisa Shmerling, JD, MPH.

The MAVEN Project is seeking physicians to volunteer their virtual time in any of the following four ways via video conference:

  1. Direct Patient Consultation is when a physician volunteer provides advice to a health care provider and a patient at a community health center.
    • This is particularly helpful for specialty care.
    • Volunteer physicians need to be licensed in the state where the patient is seen because a physician-patient relationship is being established.
    • Malpractice insurance coverage is available at no cost to the volunteer.
  2. Curbside Consultation is when a physician volunteer acts as an advisor only, providing advice directly to a health care provider at a community health center without patient involvement.
    • Volunteer physicians can be licensed anywhere in the U.S.
    • Malpractice insurance coverage is available at no cost to the volunteer.
  3. Educational sessions: A physician volunteer can provide informational seminars, or “Lunch and Learns” to health care professionals at community health centers.
    • The purpose of these seminars is to provide education on specific topics that directly relate to practical issues common to community health centers, such as best practices in a specialty area.
  4. Mentoring: A physician volunteer connects with medical providers from a community health center on a regular basis to talk generally about topics such as medical issues, ethics, and professional development.
    • This volunteer option is great for well-seasoned physicians who can provide expertise to newer physicians with minimal experience.

While The MAVEN Project is accepting volunteers from all 50 states, at this time, those who wish to volunteer their time with direct patient consultation must be licensed in California, Massachusetts or Florida.

Onboarding is provided to new volunteers. Training includes specifics about the do’s and don’ts of telemedicine as it relates to the physician-patient relationship, the importance of nondisclosure, and video conference training.

To learn more about volunteering with The MAVEN Project, visit their website.

In this video, Laurie Green, MD, explains why The MAVEN Project was founded.

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