Magazine article Medical Economics

Doctors Who Go the Extra Mile: Wayne C. Spiggle, MD: "It's Easier to Give Charity Than to Ask for It"

Magazine article Medical Economics

Doctors Who Go the Extra Mile: Wayne C. Spiggle, MD: "It's Easier to Give Charity Than to Ask for It"

Article excerpt

As he drives through a crazy-quilt of cow pastures and hayfields in western Maryland, internist Wayne C. Spiggle explains why he began arranging free care for the poor.

"This is an economically depressed area," he says. "A lot of folks here can't buy insurance, and they don't qualify for Medicaid, eitherand sometimes that's only because they work for a living."

So in 1988, Spiggle-who practices in Cumberland, MD-became the "instigator, creator, and force" behind Allegany Health Right, says FP Anthony J. Bollino Jr., who succeeded Spiggle as the organization's president. AHR, sponsored by local charities and administered with the cooperation of the county social-services department, provides county residents with physicians, hospital services, and prescription drugs.

Doctors donate their time and see patients in their offices, not in a clinic. "Patients tell us over and over, 'I have a doctor now: " says Spiggle. "We have to remember: It's much easier to give charity than to ask for it." He sees AHR as a stopgap effort until more systematic health-care coverage is available.

AHR isn't the only organization Spiggle has started. He was founding president of two environmental groups, and his long list of volunteer efforts has won him numerous honors. Among them: recognition by Common Cause of West Virginia, after he helped organize Citizens for Responsible Waste Disposal.

This whirl of activities would be enough for most people. But Spiggle and his wife, with the help of a neighbor, also run a 180-acre farm in Short Gap, WV Besides growing hay, Spiggle keeps two buggy horses and about 18 Simmental cattle. …

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