About Us

Our Mission

Our primary mission is to understand and serve the health and wellness needs of the medically underserved population and their households, living and/or working on Hilton Head and Daufuskie Islands.

The Need is Great

VIM Hilton Head island is the largest free clinic in South Carolina and one of the largest free clinics in the United States. Thousands of patients — adults and children — rely on us. Over 28,000 patients have been seen at VIM the past year alone!

VIM Hilton Head Island opened in 1993 and was founded by Dr. Jack McConnell. It has grown significantly over the past two decades. The clinic’s facilities now span over 8,000 square feet. The clinic is such an example of success that 88 other clinics across the country have modeled their facilities after VIM Hilton Head. Volunteers in Medicine provides care in 23 medical specialties and five disease management clinics. VIM keeps children in school, people at work, and eases the burden on local emergency rooms.

Our patients are primarily the working poor — more than 70% work or have a family member who does. The need for VIM’s services is so great because one in five people in the local community is uninsured. That’s because the hospitality and service industries generate much of the local economic impact. Typically, those industries do not offer healthcare.

In order to qualify for VIM, patients’ income must not exceed 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. Patients must live or work on Hilton Head or Dafuskie Islands, and be screened annually for eligibility. The Affordable Care Act has not changed the need for healthcare services among the poor of South Carolina. With no Medicaid expansion, our free services are as much in demand as ever.


Donations enable VIM to secure many essential in-kind gifts that keep the clinic open and our patients healthy. VIM’s in-kind gifts include volunteer services. Close to 650 professional and lay volunteers keep the clinic open daily all year. Professional volunteers include administrators, attorneys and accountants. Healthcare volunteers include doctors, nurses, mental health providers, lab and x-ray technicians and pharmacists.  VIM’s volunteers provide approximately 50,000 hours of service annually. Other gifts include donated pharmaceuticals, and healthcare community donations — including surgical, operatory and specialty services. In addition, donated maintenance, construction, landscape, technology, and other vital services, along with generous community donations help support VIM’s fundraising activities. Our patients volunteer too! Patients paint, clean the clinic, and perform maintenance and repairs. Some even hold their own fundraisers to help support VIM.


There are no federal dollars available for healthcare for our patients. Every year we must raise the funds necessary to support the clinic. Even with volunteer hours and donated services, we have significant costs to run the clinic, including medications, medical and office supplies, a core professional staff, building maintenance and operations.


An estimated two-thirds of our patients, those with incomes up to 138% of the Federal Poverty Level are estimated to be INELIGIBLE for any healthcare support. Those patients who do qualify for ACA support face high deductibles and out-of-pocket cost requirements that act as a barrier to care. For example, under ACA regulations, a single person earning 200% of the Federal Poverty Level is expected to pay up to 13% of that limited income in a combination of insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs. In real dollars, that means a person earing $23,340 would be expected to pay up to $3,034 annually.