The Medical Society of Delaware (MSD) has renewed the contract with the Division of Public Health (DPH) to continue the Voluntary Initiative Program (VIP) into the 2022 fiscal year. June 11 marked the 20th consecutive year that MSD has served the community in that capacity.

VIP is administered by MSD and supported by the Delaware Foundation for Medical Services (DFMS), a charitable foundation of MSD.

The Voluntary Initiative Program is part of the Health Care Connection (HCC), a state-funded program that helps coordinate charitable medical services by physicians and provides additional health service resources for patients. Physician participation adds value and improves medical outcomes for patients enrolled in HCC.

Enrolled HCC participants receive discounted medical services based on their income.

Specifically, the HCC links uninsured Delawareans who meet specific criteria with a medical home and specialty care. In addition, the program provides care coordination and health navigation services to assist patients through the continuum of care. Health Promotion Advocates (HPA) are in place to educate clients about healthy lifestyle behaviors (physical activity, nutrition and tobacco use), as well as to ensure clients enrolled in HCC obtain appropriate cancer screenings. HPAs refer Delawareans to community resources for which they may be eligible for or have a need.

“The partnership between DPH and MSD has been invaluable to ensure patients are obtaining the resources they so desperately need. This program establishes a continuity of care for patients that is critical in improving health outcomes over the long term.” said Division of Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay.

Professional external evaluation of the program has shown that patients:

  • Increase their rate for completion of preventive screenings;
  • Reduce the use of emergency department services;
  • Lower their length of hospital stays;
  • Improve their management of chronic diseases;
  • Self-report increased satisfaction with their health care; and
  • Utilize no-cost or discounted ancillary services, such as pharmacy assistance, laboratory services, radiology, physical therapy, etc.

As of February 2021, more than 70,700 low-income uninsured individuals have been identified and assisted through the VIP. In addition, more than 4,000 were enrolled in a public insurance program.

“The Medical Society of Delaware is proud and honored to celebrate the 20th anniversary of partnering with the State of Delaware to provide this critically important safety net program for access to care for such a vulnerable population. This initiative is vital in connecting those who don’t have access to health insurance to primary care, specialists, and prescription medicine.” said Matthew Burday, DO, president of the Medical Society of Delaware.