Can’t afford a doctor? The Heart of Virginia Free Clinic can help

Published 4:06 pm Friday, December 16, 2022

FARMVILLE – As winter brings the return of cold and flu season, the Heart of Virginia Free Clinic is ready to help people stay healthy despite their financial struggles.

The Heart of Virginia Free Clinic is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays at 401 E. 3rd St., Farmville. The clinic is a private nonprofit that provides primary medical care at little or no charge to low-income, uninsured adults ages 18 to 64. The clinic operates through the efforts of volunteers, grant funding and generous donations.

For the past 10 years, the Heart of Virginia Free Clinic has provided primary medical care for the nine counties of Prince Edward, Cumberland, Charlotte, Buckingham, Nottoway, Lunenburg, Amelia, Appomattox and Mecklenburg. It serves those who are at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level and cannot afford to purchase health insurance. Most patients are those who have employment without benefits but some are those facing temporary unemployment.

“We are funded by private contributions from individuals and foundation grants, gifts from civic clubs and churches, fundraising events…and funding from some of the nine counties that we serve,” said Heart of Virginia Clinic Director Pat Payne.

Even though the clinic is primarily funded through private donations, they’ve also received numerous grants to expand their services. In the past 10 years, they have been able to provide 14 sets of dentures funded by grants from the Lutheran Church and Hampden Sydney student efforts. Also, they provided 285 free mammograms funded by grants from the Susan G. Komen Foundation and 350 dental exams, 52 glucometers given to monitor blood sugar and $148,000 worth of lab tests from Centra Health.

Heart of Virginia Free Clinic works with hospital

According to Payne, the clinic has a good relationship with Centra Health. That’s due to the fact its services can help prevent emergency room visits and hospital stays. As someone who worked as an emergency room nurse for 17 years, Payne knows the importance of maintaining health. She has seen patients admitted due to preventable conditions.

“We also serve as an emergency room follow-up doctor’s appointment, which folks without insurance can struggle to find,” said Payne. “We are happy to help these folks. Taking care of blood pressure and diabetes can help people stay out of the hospital but they need to be checked often and medicine need to be regulated and we are happy to do that. A lot of it is very preventable.”

The clinic has many volunteer doctors, nurses and a pharmacist from CVS who is able to provide prescriptions. The paid staff includes a full-time executive director, a part-time administrative assistant, a part-time pharmacy coordinator and a part-time bookkeeper.

The clinic celebrated 10 years at a fundraising dinner on Dec. 3 and hopes to serve the area for many more years to come. To learn more, visit freeclinicfarmville.com.