Sentara Community Impact: Blue Ridge Free Clinic
HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Leaders of the Blue Ridge Free Clinic in Harrisonburg aim to offer no-barrier health care to community members in need.
The clinic opened in 2021. Since then, it has had 3,000 visits from people in need in our area. Clinic leaders said they are on a mission to help even more.
“We are really trying to keep people out of the emergency room and address chronic health care needs along the way so that they stay healthier, but they are able to engage with whatever their diagnosis is and manage it so that it stays in control. By being a no-barrier, no-cost-free clinic, people feel welcome to come in,” Susan Adamson explained.
Adamson is a family nurse practitioner and has worked with the clinic since it opened. She said in order for them to give quality care, they must work against the social determinants of health.
“Access to transportation to get to medical appointments. Not having a language barrier so that you can understand when you speak with a medical provider,” Adamson explained. “Having your mental health be stable enough so that you are able to embrace your physical health as well, the food insecurity so people are able to manage conditions like diabetes.”
To help with these issues, the Blue Ridge Free Clinic was awarded a more than $71,000 grant from Sentara Cares.
“With that, we are now starting to Uber or taxi patients not only to rides here when they need to have their follow-up, but also if we have scheduled a test with Sentara with one of the specialists. Sentara provides [the follow up] to our patients for no charge after we certify they are eligible,” Adamson said.
The grant will help the clinic in many ways including the free food program, which is also supported by the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank and interpreting services.
Adamson said they work with Sentara to provide services for patients who cannot be helped at the clinic.
“Sentara has allowed us to verify someone’s income, and we are giving them a Blue Ridge Free Clinic Card for a certain number of months where we are able to do diagnosis evaluations and send our patients for some specialty care, as long as we can certify that their income is at or below 300% of the federal poverty limit,” Adamson said. “That has just been critical to providing comprehensive really quality care.”
The Blue Ridge Free Clinic is by appointment only with clinics on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. You can find exact hours on their website blueridgefreeclinic.org
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