Health Check: Tune In & Tune Up

They don't normally play together professionally, but from time to time a group of Rhode Island musicians get together for a jam session.

The musicians play in various bands and like many, aren't tuned in to health care. Buddy Cavaleri lost his health insurance three-and-a-half years ago.

"As a musician going out earning my living with an instrument in my hand, like a lot of musicians I know I didn't see a doctor for that three-and-a-half years," said Buddy Cavaleri, a participant in Tune In & Tune Up.

He now has a Tune In & Tune Up membership card. It was free.

The program was started about 8 months ago by Don Culp and Russell Gusetti. These Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame board members reeled into action when the lack of health care for musicians was brought up by a Hall of Fame inductee least year.

"And he actually challenged the hall. He said, 'I really hope this is something you can look in to,'" Gusetti said.

That's how the Tune In & Tune Up Musicians Health Awareness Program came to be.

"People get so confused trying to understand health care options and wellness plans. We're going to try to really clearly get that down," Gusetti said.

In just eight months, members of the health care community are taking notice.

"They get different perks like copays waived at different health facilities," Culp said.

Culp said they want people to take a good hard look at their health.

"Musicians notoriously have difficult lives, like many people in independent fields. So, we're just trying to make them more aware about their health and be more health conscious," Culp said.

To help raise money to grow this health initiative, big name musicians from throughout the area will be performing at a two-day concert in November.

The unity concerts will take place Nov. 9 and 10 at the Ocean Mist in Wakefield. One hundred percent of the proceeds will go to the Tune In & Tune Up program for musicians and their families.