Clinical volunteers are the heart and soul of a charitable clinic. In many cases they want to provide medical services in a more spiritually oriented and compassionate manner than is possible in a for profit setting. There is always a balance in creating an environment that allows and reward this while still maintaining the types of business practices that insure maximum return on philanthropic investment and high levels of quality.
Part of providing quality health care services is ensuring that the provider has all that she or he needs to practice. Frequently professionals will work in interdisciplinary teams with physicians, nurses, specialists, social workers, etc. which provides needed support and interaction. Lab and diagnostic services are also provided either in-house or by a lab company, allowing the professional to have all the necessary information to make informed medical decisions.
Charitable clinics understand the concerns of their clinical volunteers. Therefore malpractice insurance coverage is ensured in each and every clinic before a clinician can practice. ECHO clinics are encouraged to apply for the no-cost malpractice coverage offered by the Federal Tort Claims Act to provide protection for their staff, board members and volunteer providers. Volunteer health professionals are also credentialed and privileged in advance of their practice. Flexibility is also part of the volunteer experience. How often, how long, and in what capacity a volunteer practices is completely up to the individual. It is important to the clinic that a volunteer’s expectations are met.