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Eastern Panhandle Free Clinic Marks Tenth Anniversary

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.

Today, EPFC has fourteen full-time staff, including a full-time physician, five part-time employees and a cadre of volunteers. As of the end of the last fiscal year (June 30, 2011) the clinic treated thousands of patients in more than 11,000 visits, dispensed more the $5 million in medications, filled 45,000 prescriptions and ordered more than $716,000 in in-kind lab and x-ray services. The clinic is supported by in-kind services and other assistance from Jefferson Memorial Hospital (owned by WVU), by volunteer health care providers and by financial help from grants and donations. In a press release  from WVU Hospitals-East, a hospital spokesman said, "The Eastern Panhandle Free Clinic is an example of how a community rallies together to provide neighbors in need access to quality health care services."