Clinic, van offer vital services in Suffolk

Published 8:08 pm Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Since June 2007, the Western Tidewater Free Clinic has been the only lifeline for uninsured Suffolkians who live below the poverty line. Through mostly donations and the generous time of many volunteers, the clinic has filled a vital and, unfortunately, growing need in the area.

Despite the wide and varied work the clinic is able to accomplish — they serve the medical, dental and prescription needs of more than 1,100 patients in Suffolk, Franklin and Isle of Wight — only a fraction of the total uninsured patients in the region can be served with the resources currently allocated to the clinic. And the good work of the volunteers is being limited by fewer donations coming in and a growing demand for the clinic’s services.

That’s where a Bon Secours program — newly arrived in Suffolk thanks to a grant from the Obici Healthcare Foundation — can help ease the burden.


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The Bon Secours Care-A-Van, a doctor-on-wheels program that serves uninsured patients, will begin making visits to downtown Suffolk on May 11. Eventually visits will increase to two a week.

The mobile clinic includes a small waiting area, a working space for staff, a laboratory and an exam room. Patients will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis and can get basic care and even low-cost prescriptions.

Both Care-A-Van and Western Tidewater are standing in the gap when it comes to the health of Suffolkians, and that makes both services vital to our community.

Those of us lucky enough to have health insurance should consider passing on our good fortune by donating time or money to these worthy causes.