Free Clinic

Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The first free health clinic offering comprehensive services ran this past weekend, with more than 600 people receiving care from about 350 volunteer healthcare providers. Motivated to help folks in communities hit by record-breaking flooding last summer, West Virginia Health Right partnered with the nonprofit Remote Area Medical to offer the free health clinic over two days.  

 

Elkview Free Clinic
Kara Lofton / WV Public Broadcasting

Hundreds of people were treated over the weekend at a free health clinic in Elkview.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that organizers of the clinic, which was held Saturday and Sunday at Elkview Middle School, say around 600 patients, some as far away as Virginia and Tennessee, were served.

Health Wagon
Kara Lofton / WVPB

In Appalachia, barriers to healthcare include distance from a provider, lack of transportation, lack of health insurance, and the inability to take the time off of work to drive, wait and be seen. So throughout the region, mobile health units are attempting to bridge that gap and bring services to some of the populations that need them the most.

Outside of an old train station in southwestern Virginia, Teresa Gardner and Paula Hill-Meade are seeing patients.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia has been plagued for the past few years with budget deficits. To deal with the shortfalls, the governor has cut state agency budgets across the board, implemented hiring freezes and dipped into the state’s Rainy Day Fund.

This year, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin cut the House and Senate approved budget by an additional $11 million, leaving some service programs to wonder how they’ll keep their doors open. The Charleston Health Right is just one of those service programs.

The West Virginia Health Right clinic located in Charleston's East End is a free and charitable clinic that provides medical, dental and vision services to more than 15,000 uninsured and underinsured West Virginians each year.