About the Virginia B. Andes Volunteer Community Clinic
The Virginia B. Andes Volunteer Community Clinic is a Florida nonprofit corporation with a current 501 (c)3 tax exempt status. The mission of VBA Clinic, under the umbrella of St. Vincent de Paul Community Health Care, Inc., is to provide no-cost primary and semi-urgent medical services and prescription medication to our under-insured neighbors in Charlotte County.
In 1999, the formerly-named St. Vincent de Paul Community Pharmacy of Charlotte County Inc. was founded by Dr. Thomas F. Ferrara. The pharmacy was an outgrowth of Dr. Ferrara's volunteer work with Punta Gorda's Sacred Heart Church conference of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, of which he was president.
Dr. Ferrara saw the nonprofit Community Pharmacy as a necessity in Charlotte County Florida. The Pharmacy opened May 17, 2000. Dr. Ferrara served for several years as the volunteer chief administrator and on the Board of Directors until his retirement in 2007. In 2007, St. Vincent de Paul Community Pharmacy restructured and became St. Vincent de Paul Community Health Care, Inc. (SVDP) with a satellite Pharmacy in Englewood Florida.
Following the success of the Pharmacy, Dr. Mark Asperilla and Dr. David Klein, SVDP Co-Medical Directors recognized the need for a free medical clinic in Charlotte County, due to the increased number of Charlotte residents without medical care and lack of insurance.
After months of planning, Drs. Klein and Asperilla implemented a plan to open a free medical clinic in order to care specifically for the uninsured, under-insured and working poor in Charlotte County, with the objective of not only providing life-giving care, but also empowering patients to actively engage in disease prevention, health education, and treatment plans.
In addition to the profound impact on saving lives, the clinic will also make a significant impact on the community by minimizing emergency room traffic and expense in the three local hospitals.
Through a partnership in with the Volunteers in Medicine Alliance, SVDP Board of Directors, and with the mobilization of community resources, Drs. Klein and Asperilla opened the doors of the St Vincent de Paul Community Health Clinic and Pharmacy in early February 2008.
In October 2009, St Vincent De Paul Community Health Clinic was renamed The Virginia B. Andes Volunteer Community Clinic in honor of a long-time community volunteer who made a generous and significant financial gift and created an endowment to provide our clinic with future capital funds.
To provide no-cost volunteer Medical, Pharmacy and Wellness Services to the under-insured in Charlotte County.
Disease prevention, education, episodic health care and pharmacy services will be provided with the same dignity and confidentiality afforded in the private sector in an effort to maintain a healthy community. For health conditions requiring treatment that is beyond the scope of what can be provided in-house, the Virginia B. Andes Volunteer Community Clinic will seek to identify other sources of care in the community.
Virginia B. Andes Volunteer Community Clinic is a free medical clinic which opened February 1, 2008. It is in a new permanent facility located at 21297 Olean Blvd - Unit B in Port Charlotte, Florida. The VBA Clinic provides qualified residents with episodic medical services, prescription medication and patient assistance programs at no cost, regardless of race, religion, color creed, or national origin. As a volunteer clinic, under the umbrella of sovereign immunity, we are able to see eligible Charlotte County residents that have an annual income equal to or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. No co-pay or sliding scale fee is utilized.
The VBA Clinic, through our association with the Volunteers in Medicine Alliance, adheres to and practices the philosophy of "Culture of Caring." This philosophy recognizes the strengths of those in need and respects their dignity. We seek to heal not only physical illness, but also the injury caused by bias, prejudice, and indifference.
The Virginia B. Andes Volunteer Community Clinic is committed to helping people take responsibility for keeping themselves healthy by promoting health and well-being, preventing illnesses and contributing to the overall welfare of the community. Our clinic model empowers patients to be actively involved in their own health care by individualizing treatment plans that integrate a holistic approach.
Since 1999, the St. Vincent de Paul Community Pharmacy, now a division of the VBA Clinic, has dispensed over $6 million dollars worth of free prescription medication to any patient in need. To demonstrate eligibility, patients provide paperwork giving evidence of sources and amounts of household income and assets, as well as proof of Charlotte County residency. If their income is within the guidelines designated by the Drug Manufacturer's Compassionate Care Programs, we will be able to provide many of their medications.