Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions


What is VIM?

The full name is Volunteers in Medicine, Chattanooga, Inc. VIM is a medical clinic funded by community contributions. It provides respectful, high quality medical and health care services to low income, uninsured residents of Hamilton County, Tennessee. Providers are volunteer physicians and nurses. 

Dr. Jack McConnell began the first Volunteers in Medicine clinic in Hilton Head, SC in 1992. It is staffed mainly by volunteers and provides medical service at no charge to low income uninsured of the area. The idea came to Chattanooga though Founder Nancy Franks and Ridgedale Baptist Church as a part of their long range planning process. Dr. McConnell visited Chattanooga in July of 2003 and elaborated on the program. The need was clear for Chattanooga and the community picked up on the idea. Committees began work and the result is an ecumenical, community wide Volunteers in Medicine Clinic opened in Chattanooga May 2005.

When is the Clinic Open and Where is it Located?

VIM is open Monday – Wednesday 9 AM – 4 PM. VIM is closed and unstaffed on Thursdays and Fridays.

The Dispensary is open and available for prescription pick up when the clinic is open.

How can I Help?

The services of VIM Chattanooga are not possible without community support. Many have already given to make VIM - Chattanooga a reality. We need your help to keep VIM operating and providing vital services to our friends and neighbors. You can help by volunteering your time and effort (medical and non medical) and by contributing financially. You can speak with Michelle Turner who coordinates the volunteer effort at 855-8220. You can send donations to Volunteers in Medicine, Chattanooga, Inc., P. O. Box 81057, Chattanooga, TN 37414. More details are given in the questions below.

What Services Do You Provide? Who Provides the Services?


VIM provides outpatient preventive and acute care, management of some chronic and long-term medical conditions, health maintenance, specialty referral, health education, and some prescription assistance. Services are provided primarily by licensed medical professionals who donate their time without charge to VIM patients.

What Services are Not Provided?

We do not provide routine HIV and STD screening, drug testing, obstetrics, paternity testing, travel medicine, fertility testing, substance abuse treatment, emergency or major trauma services.

Who is Eligible for the Services?

Patients are required to be a resident of Hamilton or a surrounding county for a minimum of 90 days, not covered under TennCare, Medicare, Liability Insurance (i.e. injuries from auto accidents), Workers Compensation Insurance or any other medical insurance provider. Patients must be able to show that their income is less than 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. Guidelines may change from time to time based on resources and needs.

What Does it Cost to Come to the Clinic?

There is no charge for visits to the Clinic. We do not accept insurance. However, we accept voluntary donations towards the cost of prescription medications or supplies. Patients may have to pay for medications not in our dispensary. If you need special attention that cannot be provided at VIM, we will help you find the medical care you need. We cannot, of course, guarantee that it will be provided free of charge.

Can I See the Same Doctor Each Time I Come to the Clinic?

Not necessarily. Since the doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses and other health professionals who work at VIM volunteer their time, you may not be able to see the same practitioner each visit.


Are Services Available for Non-English Speaking Patients?

We prefer a family member or friend come with the patient needing assistance to interpret. In the event that is not possible, when making your appointment, please let us know if you need services in another language. We will try to find an interpreter to assist during the visit, although cannot promise beyond Spanish and Vietnamese.

Is the Clinic Wheelchair Accessible?

Yes. Accessible parking is also available.

What are the Volunteer Positions?

We are recruiting for Physicians and Nurses. Please contact Michelle Turner, Volunteer Coordinator, at 855-8220.

Do I Need Medical Experience?

Some positions require specific medical skills, many others do not. What type of experience and/or license is required? Training is provided for all positions. Medical professionals must have current license. There is a special provision for retired medical personnel working in a free clinic. Michelle Turner, Volunteer Coordinator, at 855-8220.

Are There Transportation Services Available to the Clinic?

We are at Eastgate with a bus stop nearby, served by CARTA Bus #4.

What Type Donations Can I Make to VIM?

VIM is a community sponsored endeavor and needs contributions in all areas of operation, including: 

Financial support for programs and operations 

Time and Talent as volunteers 

Medical Supplies for services 

Click here for more information on donations of all kinds.

Where Do I Send My Financial Contributions?

Volunteers in Medicine - Chattanooga, Inc.
P. O. Box 81057
Chattanooga, TN 37414