PARKERSBURG - The new Parkersburg Community Health Center is working to make sure people can get the care they need.
The federally qualified health center opened Oct. 15 on the fourth floor of the Camden Clark Medical Center, St. Joseph's Campus medical office building.
It was made possible by federal funding from the Health Resources and Service Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to establish health delivery sites to improve the health of the nation's underserved communities and vulnerable populations.
Nurse Regina Hendershot and Cherrie Cowan, a family and diabetes nurse practitioner, go over a chart at the Parkersburg Community Health Center, which recently opened on the fourth floor of the Camden Clark Medical Center, St. Joseph’s Campus medical office building. (Photo by Brett Dunlap)
''A federally qualified health center is a little different than a regular doctor's office,'' said Cherrie Cowan, a family and diabetes nurse practitioner. ''A federally qualified health center does not turn you away.
''If you come in and you don't have any insurance then we give you a sliding fee, if you qualify. If you come in and you are on Medicare then we waive their deductible. If you are on Medicaid we won't turn you down; we take you.''
Few medical providers in the area accept Medicaid and people are using emergency departments for sick visits and primary care because they can't get in to see a doctor, officials said.
With the sliding fee, people could pay about $15 for a visit.
People with private insurance coverage can come in and follow the regular process.
''Our mission is to be here to provide care for the 43 percent of people who are underinsured or not insured in the Parkersburg area,'' Cowan said. ''We are making an investment in the health of the people and the health of the community."
The clinic is the seventh to be established in the area under the Wirt County Health Services Corp., which has health centers and school-based centers in Wirt County, Jackson County and Meigs County, Ohio.
PCHC uses physicians and a nurse practitioner to offer a full range of health care for the entire family.
The clinic offers well child exams, immunizations and sports physicals. Chronic disease management services are designed to improve the health and quality of life for those with diabetes, asthma, hypertension, heart disease and obesity.
''The only people we can't see are those with Ohio Medicaid and we don't do worker's compensation claims,'' Cowen said.
Dr. Larry Williamson will be working at the clinic starting in December. Cowan is available through the week.
Diagnostic lab services are performed on-site and results are received promptly by electronic medical record, officials said.
Pharmacy assistance programs are available for those who qualify.
Officials are working to get family planning services and women's prevention care services available.
''We provide quality comprehensive health care,'' Cowan said. ''If they have a problem or an issue that can't be resolved here, we have the resources available to get them what they need.''
Clinics like this one are in place to help an underserved part of the population.
''We are committed to providing quality health care to those we serve,'' said Dee Scritchfield, CEO of Wirt County Health Services. ''We take care of our communities, our home businesses, our families and our neighbors.
''We believe that circumstances like poverty, inadequate health insurance and isolated rural communities do not have to lead to poor health care.''
The clinic is open Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. In January, officials are hoping to implement 10-hour shifts to allow people to come in after work.
For more information, call the clinic at 304-424-4730.