Free clinic looks to relocate

Published 6:18 pm Monday, July 31, 2017

The Heart of Virginia Free Clinic on South Main Street in Farmville is in the initial stages of looking for a new location.

“We don’t know where we’re going,” Free Clinic Executive Director Pat Payne said. “We’re looking, we’re talking to a couple of churches … about maybe using some space either on their property or in their building. (Out of) every commercial building that we have looked at, the rent is too expensive for us.”

Pat Payne

She said the clinic was looking for somewhere to “hang their hat” until they could make a master plan that would dictate whether the clinic would build or continually rent.

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“We’ve been in (Dr. Edward Gordon’s) former office for three years and love it. It’s very comfortable (and a) great location,” Payne said. “He has other plans for the property and we’re looking to relocate.”

She noted that there were no hard feelings between the clinic and Gordon. He just “asked in a very kind way to see if we could find another place and we’re looking,” Payne said.

According to Payne, Gordon has not set a deadline for the clinic to move.

Gordon said he’d mentioned the possibility of them having to relocate, but nothing has been formalized.

“At this point there’s no pressure on her and there’s nothing active going on,” Gordon said. “I just gave her a lot of notice so this could happen … a year or two from now or it could happen faster depending on other things that are going on in my life.”

Gordon said he’s in the retirement phase of his life and he wanted Payne to know that things may not stay the way they are.

“She may not have to leave in my entire lifetime,” Gordon said.

He said he just wanted Payne to know the potential, citing the development that has been occurring in the area and if something came along, there was a possibility that he may become interested and he didn’t want her to be caught off guard.

“I would not throw her out without a place to go,” Gordon said. “…That’s what happened to her last time and I wouldn’t put her through that again … I think this is good for the community, the (Heart of Virginia Free Clinic).”

The clinic is operated with four volunteer doctors, two volunteer nurse practitioners, four staff members as well as other volunteers who Payne described as “all very committed people.”

She said in a previous interview the people the clinic serves have limited resources.

“They’re working, they don’t make enough money to buy insurance but they make too much money to get Medicare, Medicaid, so they just fall through the cracks,” Payne said. “We’re the net under the crack.”

Patient visits are free but the patients must have an income under 200 percent of the national poverty level, according to Payne.

“So, that means, for an individual who lives alone, they have to make less than $22,000 a year,” Payne said.

She said patients also can’t have insurance of any kind.

Payne said since the clinic opened in 2012, they’ve provided more than 400 mammograms for women without insurance for free — something they’re able to do in part to a partnership with Centra.

“They’ve given us grants to give patients equipment; they’ve given us grants to open our pharmacy,” Payne said. “This year, we have a grant to provide dental appointments for our patients.”

The clinic is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. According to Payne, the only county that provides a donation to the clinic is Prince Edward.

Regarding Gordon, Payne said “he’s been good to us.”

“All I can say is ‘thank you,’” Payne said. “…He really saved us when we left Main Street.”

Prior to its current location at 1702 S. Main St. in Farmville, the clinic was located at the northwest corner at the intersection of West Third and North Main streets.

The clinic offers care to patients in the counties of Amelia, Buckingham, Charlotte, Cumberland, Lunenburg, Nottoway and Prince Edward.