VOLUNTEER NETWORK: Medical Program Expanding

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A program targeting Iowans in need is growing.

The Volunteer Physician Network started as a way to help provide specialty care for people across central Iowa all free of charge.

“When we started back in 2002 we started with only 50 specialists. We weren`t as busy but as the time progressed the organization has grown no we have over 450 specialists taking care of patients who are in need, so the need has actually grown over the years,” Dr. Donny Suh explained.

The network includes doctors, nurses, and all of Des Moines’ hospitals and surgery centers.

Patients who are 200-percent below the federal poverty line and need to see a specialist are referred into the program.

Central Iowa doctors can volunteer their time and services to help treat patients with different problems.

Des Moines resident Anita Ortega says the program has helped her several times.

“Personally helped me twice. I’m very grateful the first time was in 2012 I had a colonoscopy and recently I had an MRI March 4th so it helped me a lot and I’m still pending for another referral,” Ortega said through a translator.

On average VPN see 1,000 patients a year totaling $3.7 million provided in free care.


  • lisan

    At the risk of yet again exposing that I’m a math geek… I don’t think it’s possible to be “200-percent below the federal poverty line” – that would be negative income. I believe this program is for people who are below 200% of the federal poverty line.

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