Volunteer/Retired Providers (VRP) Program


In the first six months of 2014, volunteer or retired providers cared for more than 98,000 patients in Washington state. The average volunteer donated 83 hours between January – June 2014 and cared for 141 patients.

If we assume that all the patients served by VRP volunteers would have otherwise gone to a hospital emergency room (approximately $1,216 per ER visit), VRP services provided in Washington from January – June 2014 can be valued at between $36 – $120 million, in what may have been uncompensated emergency room visits.

WWAHEC helps place volunteer or retired professionals throughout Washington state, including physicians and physician assistants, dentists, nurses, pharmacists and other health professionals.


Important Information for Volunteer Providers

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Malpractice Insurance

The Washington Volunteer/Retired Providers Malpractice Insurance Program is funded by the Washington State Department of Health and managed through the Western Washington Area Health Education Center.

The program is designed to encourage health care volunteers in Washington state by paying the malpractice insurance premiums for those providing non-invasive care to underserved patients. Volunteers who only use their Washington professional license for volunteer work are additionally eligible for free license renewal (see License Renewal below). All professional license and malpractice insurance costs, other than late fees and testing fees, are covered by the Washington State Department of Health. The definition of “retired” has been expanded to include providers with site-specific malpractice insurance coverage.


Eligible professionals include:

    • Dentists
    • Doctors
    • Dental Hygienists
    • Nurse Practitioners
    • Physician Assistants
    • Pharmacists
    • Registered Nurses
    • Licensed Acupuncturist
    • Licensed Mental Health Providers
    • Licensed Vision Care Professionals
    • Chiropractors
    • Other health care professionals deemed in short supply by the Department of Health

There is no minimum number of service hours required of volunteers. Providers must be licensed in Washington state. Currently, non-invasive primary and specialty care is covered under the malpractice insurance. For medical providers, non-invasive care is defined to include the administration of injections, suturing of minor lacerations, and the incision of boils and superficial abscesses. Non-invasive dental care includes diagnosis, oral hygiene, restoration and extraction. Obstetric care, orthodontia, and surgical treatments are not covered by our malpractice insurance.

A list of all currently approved Volunteer/Retired Provider sites is available here.


The application for malpractice insurance is available here.


License Renewal

Licensed health care professionals who are not currently using their Washington state license for paid work (such as retired professionals or individuals taking a leave of absence from their practice) are eligible for free license renewal, paid by the Washington State Department of Health. This benefit is intended to help eliminate barriers to volunteerism and increase access to health care for Washington state’s underserved patients.

If you are a licensed health care professional and you meet the following criteria:

  • you wish to volunteer at a Volunteer/Retired Providers Program approved site,
  • you are not currently receiving compensation for the use of your license,
  • your professional license is due for renewal within the next three months,

then please download and complete the following form.


Send all license renewal documents to the address included on the form itself.

Volunteer Dentists Continuing Education

The Pacific Northwest Dental Conference (PNDC) will provide a complimentary conference badge to retired Washington State Dental Association (WSDA) member dentists who are participants in the Volunteer/Retired Providers Program.

WSDA dentists who are retired from practice, but wish to provide care as volunteers can do so in a variety of settings throughout the state. The PNDC will help retired dentist volunteers to eliminate out-of pocket expenses for continuing education. By attending the Pacific Northwest Dental Conference, dentists can obtain up to 12 of the 21 continuing education hours required annually by the state. Dentist volunteers can earn another seven CDE hours by donating care in an approved program. Other hours can be obtained through self-study or CDE presentations at local component dental society meetings.

For information about the complimentary conference badge, please contact the Katie Olsen at the Washington State Dental Association at or (206) 448-1914.

Legislation Supporting Volunteer Providers

More information about the conditions placed on the VRP Program is available from the Washington State Legislature website, RCW 43.70.470 (Retired primary care provider liability malpractice insurance - conditions). VISIT SITE

The Federal Tort Claims Act and the Good Samaritan Law also provide avenues of support for volunteer/clinic malpractice protection. This PDF below contains a chart comparing all three programs.


Clinic Sites Needing Volunteer/Retired Providers

AHEC is absolutely wonderful and allows our clinic to function with a variety of volunteers. That piece is HUGE as we charge a discounted fee for our patients and this is the only way we can afford to do so.”

Clinics interested in using VRP-insured volunteers must provide health care services for low-income patients regardless of ability to pay and must be approved by Western Washington Area Health Education Center.

The approval process is simple. Applications may be completed over the phone and faxed to the clinic for final review and signature.

The site approval process generally takes 30 minutes.

A site application is available here.


A list of all currently approved VRP sites is available here.


Great program. I plan to increase my involvement.”