In the Spirit of Thanksgiving

At UCM, we’re thankful to be part of the solution that gives quality medical care to those in need.


Thanksgiving is a time of the year when many Americans take extra time during their busy holiday season to give back to their community — and many people choose to spend part of their Thanksgiving Day serving food to the less fortunate in homeless shelters all across the country.

In addition to providing traditional holiday meals, homeless shelters provide services to people in need of shelter and housing throughout the year. And their service doesn’t stop there; often individuals and families seeking shelter are in need of other help, such as medical attention. However, with no access to medical coverage, limited transportation options and financial limitations, they become a portion of our society that goes without medical care. A lack of care means medical issues go from minor to severe, and many times, result in a trip to the emergency room.

Providing homeless shelters with medical resources and solutions

Emergency rooms are intended to help dire cases, and are often crowded with cases that are not medical emergencies at all — but the patients have nowhere else to turn. The frantic pace of an ER, with its doctors and nurses working in intense life-saving situations where they must focus on the most critical cases, usually means other non-emergency cases are not given adequate attention. This is no fault of the ER, and it’s not the fault of those patients without resources. For the hospitals, these visits are costly and those costs ultimately trickle down into other fees. And, for the patients without access to other medical care, a trip to the emergency room can be frustrating and often doesn’t provide the solution they need.

The solution lies not in placing blame on the institutions or the individuals.The solution is to provide the right medical resources at the right place, at the right time.

United Concierge Medicine, through its virtual acute care program, is committed to providing a solution for homeless shelters to provide quality, compassionate medical care to each and every individual who comes through the doors.

Under a grant awarded through New York State’s Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment program, UCM offers its virtual ER service to multiple homeless shelters including the ARC of Rensselaer County, a national community-based organization that serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“This gets us back to our original mission,” according to Keith Algozzine, UCM’s Chief Executive Officer. “This grant allows UCM help society’s most vulnerable individuals while reducing the cost to taxpayers.”

Providing homeless shelters with medical resources and solutions.

UCM’s unique virtual ER treat and triage service reaches patients with compassionate care wherever and whenever they need it most. Reaching patients who seek refuge in homeless shelters reinforces UCM’s commitment to its patients, provider partners and the communities around us. Using the virtual ER service, workers in the homeless shelters can facilitate consultations for people at those sites, no matter age or situation.

These consultations can be for any acute medical problem or question. Whether it’s a prescription, peace of mind or identifying a problem and directing the patient to the right care, at the right place, at the right time, the UCM treat and triage services will attempt to avoid unnecessary trips to the emergency room. And, a one-on-one consultations with a UCM medical provider gives the patient a sense of comfort, knowing they are receiving compassionate care in a calm setting, and are getting the medical attention they need, and deserve.

This Thanksgiving — through the holiday season and all year ‘round — giving back is important and we’re humbled by those of you who selflessly give your time to help others.