We Care Jacksonville Celebrates Its 2016 Caring Awards
Executive Director Sue Nussbaum, M.D., MBA
The name says it all. We Care Jacksonville is a specialty care services organization that relies on the donated services of volunteer physicians, healthcare workers, and healthcare organizations to provide specialized medical care to low-income, uninsured individuals throughout Duval County.
Each year, at its annual Caring Awards event, the group celebrates the spirit of philanthropy and volunteerism in Jacksonville’s medical community by honoring individuals and organizations for their ongoing dedication to serving those in need.
With the assistance of nearly 600 volunteers, area hospitals, and healthcare institutions, We Care Jacksonville provided 12,000 patient services valued at $25 million last year. By coordinating with physicians and hospitals, the group provides a full gamut of specialized care including surgery, oncology, orthopedics, gastroenterology, gynecology, and more.
To be eligible for We Care’s services, patients must be over 18 years of age and reside in Duval County. In addition, they must have income at or below 200 percent of the national poverty level, be uninsured, and have no other form of help such as Medicare or Medicaid. “Most of the patients we see are currently unemployed and sometimes homeless,” says Dr. Nussbaum.
Unfortunately, even with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, Dr. Nussbaum points out that many in the state still fall through the healthcare cracks. “If you participate in the plan at the lowest level, you still have to deal with co-pays and deductibles, and the stronger the plan, the more the co-pays increase.”
Groups like We Care Jacksonville often step in to fill the healthcare void. If you feel compelled to contribute, here are ways you can help:
• Physicians and healthcare providers are encouraged to volunteer their services
• Monetary donations are always appreciated
• Spread the word about We Care Jacksonville to those needing assistance
“A lot of my life in medicine has been spent working in impoverished communities,” says Dr. Nussbaum. “I can tell you, these patients are really grateful. They want to get healthy and get back to work. People worry those that receive care don’t value it. That isn’t true. They’re very grateful, and they move on to the next phase of life, which sometimes includes a job with private insurance.”