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WVMedCorps Holds Second Healthcare Summit

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 conference, entitled Best Practices in Chronic Disease Management,  featured experts from around the state presenting critical topics including but not limited to “West Virginia’s Approach to the Meth Lab Epidemic” and “Engaging Diabetic Patients in Their own Health Care.”  Oral Health Care and Pharmacy tracks were added this year and covered topics such as “The Oral/Systemic Connection” and “Mechanisms to Detect Prescription Drug Abuse.” Linda West, Executive Director of WVAFC, said, “Conferences such as these are important to the continuing education of our free clinic health care workers. Chronic disease management is such a critical part of what they do, and this conference is an opportunity for them to keep up with the latest information.”



WVAFC members  are geographically dispersed throughout the state. The clinics are Beckley Health Right, Eastern Panhandle Free Clinic (Ranson), Ebenezer Medical Outreach (Huntington),  Good Samaritan Clinic (Parkersburg),  Health Access Inc. (Clarksburg), Mercer Charitable Clinic (Bluefield), Milan Puskar Health Right (Morgantown), Susan Dew Hoff Memorial Clinic (West Milford ), West Virginia Health Right  (Charleston), and Wheeling Health Right.  Their mission is to provide health care and medical homes to the thousands of uninsured working adult West Virginians.  Free clinic patients are between the ages of 19-64 and are not insured through employer plans, nor do they qualify for Medicaid or Medicare.  These are the uninsured adults who “fall through the cracks” of the current healthcare delivery system. In FY 2011, the free clinics cared for more than 60,000 adults through 270,000 + office visits and filled approximately 647,000 life enhancing and life saving medications—all at no charge to the patients. The free clinics consistently reduce emergency room use by 64 percent and in-patient hospitalization by 42 percent and prevent cost-shifting by treating patients in the early stages of illness.