By Kate Long
In 1974, Ellen Cook had a child who could not speak or walk. "We cared for her at home for years," she said. "It was hard, very hard. Food can be comfort". She put on serious weight. She weighed 130 when her daughter was born. By age 45, she weighed close to 400 pounds and had developed heart problems, diabetes, thyroid problems, hypertension and gout.
More than fifty professionals—fifty-three to be exact—completed a two year WVMedCorps program under the aegis of AmeriCorps and Volunteer West Virginia. WVMedCorps is the first Professional AmeriCorps program in West Virginia.
In exchange for their service to the clinics, the former AmeriCorps members will be granted a Segal Education Award to help defray the cost of former or future higher education fees. The MedCorps members are, by clinic:
On June 15, the WV Association of Free Clinics (WVAFC) recognized two individuals for their dedication to and support of the free clinics in West Virginia by presenting each with a "Champion of Free Clinics Award" for 2012. The first award was presented to Jeff Graham, Executive Director of Beckley Health Right and Mercer Charitable Clinic. When Mercer Health Right had to close unexpectedly for business reasons, Graham, with the help of the WVAFC Board of Directors, led the effort to get that clinic re-opened and to take care of its many patients.
WV MedCorps, an AmeriCorps program funded through Volunteer West Virginia, under the aegis of the West Virginia Association of Free Clinics (WVAFC), hosted its second summer summit on June 15-16 at Waterfront Place in Morgantown, WV. The educational summit is for health care workers employed at the ten free clinics in West Virginia.
The free clinics have been very busy. In addition to handling greatly increased patient visits, they have been working diligently to become recognized as Medical Homes by the Nation Commission on Quality Assurance (NCQA). The application process is intense and time-consuming. Each clinic must meet certain high standards of patient-centered care set by NCQA in order to be recognized.
Teddy McCall has lost 110 pounds with the help of Beckley Health Right (BHR) and Weight Watchers. McCall, 59, of Mullens, started going to the BHR clinic three years ago and joined its Weight Watchers program last January. McCall said the doctors and nurses at the clinic advised that he try to lose weight. He kept putting it off until he saw a picture of himself that his niece took. “I was sitting on the couch with a plate of food in my hand, and I was as big as a cow.
Ten years ago, the Eastern Panhandle Free Clinic (EPFC) in Ranson, WV opened for business in a single room, operating one day a week with a few volunteers and no paid staff. The clinic treated 184 patients that first year. In 2002, the clinic moved to a 2,400 square foot building and by 2006 employed three full-time and five part-time employees, was treating 1,450 patients a year, dispensing $1.3 million in medications and filling 18,000 prescriptions.
WASHINGTON—The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) today announced that Wheeling Health Right, Wheeling, WV has received Level 3 Recognition from the Physician Practice Connections—Patient-Centered Medical Home (PPC-PCMH) program for using evidence-based, patient-centered processes that focus on highly coordinated care and long-term participative relationships.