When insurance is gone

I remember how it felt that day in November 1999 when my husband lost his job. The look on his face as he stood in our kitchen. The realization that our little family of three had lost its income and medical insurance.

That memory, pushed aside for more than a decade, returned full force when I received the request from Bette Anderson Grey ’81: Could we, she wondered, tell the story of the Columbia County Volunteers in Medicine Clinic in the pages of Bloomsburg: The University Magazine?

I’d heard about the clinic long before Bette contacted me. It opened in early 2007 to serve the area’s uninsured and underinsured and, as the economy went from bad to worse, its patient roster grew. In the local newspaper, I read Bette’s first-person accounts of the need for the clinic and its role in diagnosing illnesses, some serious. And I learned from our nursing faculty that Bloomsburg University students are gaining valuable experience working with the clinic’s patients.

At BU, we encourage our students to get involved and make a difference. Our strategic plan, Impact 2015: Building on the Past, Leading for the Future, lists four strategic issues – you might call them “goals” – one of which is Fostering and developing a strong sense of community. As the selfless founder of the Columbia County Volunteers in Medicine Clinic, Bette Grey exemplifies these qualities.

After three months, my husband and I once again had full-time jobs and insurance coverage for our family. We were able to fill prescriptions and schedule routine check-ups. For some, this type of insurance coverage will never be within reach but, thanks to a clinic started by a BU alumna, they can receive the medical care they need.

Tell us your story at

—Bonnie Martin, Editor

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