Projected to help 3,500 underserved patients annually, the new facility will replace the current structure that has only two exam rooms, limiting the ability of physicians to accommodate patient needs.
The new 5,000-square-foot clinic will provide additional exam rooms for medical, dental and vision care services, as well as administrative offices and spaces for x-ray, pharmacy, laboratory and telehealth use.
The Health Wagon is Southwest Virginia’s only free health services organization largely dependent on donations to provide care to the uninsured, underinsured and others who cannot afford basic medical care. The Health Wagon operates in Lee, Scott, Wise, Dickenson, Buchanan and Russell counties and is also widely recognized for its annual collaboration with Knoxville-based Remote Area Medical (RAM) to stage a three-day health fair in Wise County each summer with free medical, dental and vision care services available to all comers.
Last month’s 19th annual RAM event at the Wise County Fairgrounds provided free services to nearly 2,000 patients, and a nearby Virginia Dental Association Foundation Mission of Mercy (MOM) event, held in conjunction with RAM during the same weekend, provided free dental care services to hundreds more.
In announcing the ARC grant, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine, both D-VA, released a joint statement noting that “every year the Health Wagon helps thousands of Virginians get access to health care they otherwise could not afford. As governors and senators, we have been proud to support the important work of the Health Wagon. Worthy projects such as this clinic are why we have fought so hard in Washington to protect funding for the Appalachian Regional Commission.”
Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem, also praised ARC’s funding decision in his own announcement, noting the clinic is the sort of project the ARC was established to promote.