Physician Volunteers for the Arts (PVA), a new free clinic program from the Actors' Fund, and the New York Presbyterian Hospital are working to recruit physicians in anticipation of an Oct. 28 deadline. That is when the Actors' Fund plans to expand its free clinic services to the entertainment community by keeping the facility open five days a week. PVA's free clinic services are currently available only on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The PVA program was founded in 1997 by Dr. Barry Kohn, a board certified allergist, immunologist and pediatrician. Aimed at providing service to entertainment professionals, PVA provides acute intervention and specialty care referrals at the Actors' Fund's Aurora residence, located at 475 West 57 Street in NYC. A 1997 Actors' Fund survey showed that 36 percent of entertainment professionals had no health insurance and 61.6 percent of the Fund's clients in NYC were uninsured.
An Actors' Fund spokesperson told Playbill On-Line that several physicians have already signed on to the PVA program, although the exact number has yet to be released. Registered nurse Sarah Burnette has joined the PVA program as a full time coordinator.
Also, on Oct. 28, the entertainment consortium Broadway Wellness and You (B.W.A.Y.) will join with the Actors' Fund in providing free flu shots as part of B.W.A.Y.'s semi-annual health fair. At this event, screenings for blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol will also be available.
The Actors' Fund says that for patients who require continuing care, the physicians at PVA may provide "specialty consultations." PVA will refer patients to New York Presbyterian Hospital clinics for a one-time, single consultation, and a specialist will see uninsured patients for a flat fee of $40. Uninsured patients from the PVA clinic will be referred to the Actors' Fund Artists' Health Insurance Resource Center so they can learn about viable insurance options. The research center is a comprehensive national database located on the Fund's home page at www.actorsfund.org. PVA also provides an ongoing series of physician talks on health topics. The next discussion, "The Breast and Sexual Health for Women," will be given by Dr. Hilda Hutcherson on Sept. 22, from 5:15-6:30 PM. Other talks are planned, with such topics as "Cholesterol and Your Health," Nutrition and Eating Disorders," and "Liver Disease and Hepatitis." Talks are held every other month between Wednesday matinee and evening performances. For further information on the Actors' Fund PVA program, free clinic or lecture series, call Sarah Burnette R.N., at PVA, (212) 489-2020, ext. 140.
-- By Murdoch McBride