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Providence Medical Clinic cares for community members' medical and spiritual needs

June 5th, 2012 11:54 am by Katina Rose

Providence Medical Clinic cares for community members' medical and spiritual needs

The clinic allows patients the opportunity to experience a compassionate Christian atmosphere. Photo by David Grace.

There are times when a group of people see a need and then work together to find a way to help others around them. This happened when First Baptist Church started a ministry to offer free medical care to those in need. A group from the church closely followed other compatible models and decided to open Providence Medical Clinic.

Providence Medical Clinic is the outgrowth of a time of visioning in 2005-2006 when First Baptist members sought God’s leadership through prayer in how to minister to our city. The Visioning Team was led by former Kingsport Mayor Jeanette Blazier. Providence Medical Clinic, First Baptist Counseling Center, Celebrate Recovery (a 12-step Christian recovery ministry), and the First Baptist Tutoring Ministry are some of the ways the church is living out its purpose statement: To love God, love people and lead others to a transforming relationship with Jesus Christ.

The clinic allows patients the opportunity to experience a compassionate Christian atmosphere while receiving medical care. Patients can speak with a member of the spiritual support team for assistance and prayer. Providence Medical Clinic has been open two years now and is sharing God’s love by caring for community members’ medical and spiritual needs.

"The patients are finding their way to us because of referrals from shelters, Department of Social Services and hospitals. What we desperately need now are more volunteer providers. We would like to offer services to more patients and open up another evening throughout the week. In order to do this, we need volunteer physicians, nurse practitioners, physician’s assistants and nurses," said Vandi France, clinic manager. "The providers we currently have volunteering are wonderful, but we would love to have more medical providers offer a few hours of their time once a month and double the number of patients we are assisting."

"Our current volunteer providers are Jim Burleson, Mark Kadowaki, Liz Clemens, Kevin Kirk, Bob Lee, Chris Neglia, Rebecca Cote, Jeff Summers, Malcolm Jones, John Chapman and Marta Wayt, our medical director. We could not see any patients without their willingness to serve God by serving their community," said France.

If a patient needs to see a medical specialist or needs additional tests, Providence Medical Clinic will help arrange those services through Project Access.

If an individual is 18 and above, a citizen of Kingsport or Sullivan County, and has a household income at or below 120 percent of the poverty guideline, Providence will offer its medical assistance and spiritual care. For example, a one-person household could make up to $13,000 and still receive services from the clinic. Every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., new patients can come to the clinic to complete an eligibility application. They must provide proof of income, such as Social Security benefits, pay stub and food stamps. A picture ID and a bill, such as a power or water bill, with a current address are also required. The clinic also requires paperwork be filled out every year for eligibility. The financial documents also help the clinic determine the best way to guide its patients for pharmaceutical needs.

Once patients are accepted to the clinic, they will receive a Providence Medical Clinic card. An established patient may show up any time the clinic is open, beginning at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday evenings. Currently, the clinic is only open one night per week. And, unfortunately, patients often show up early to start lining up for care - and there are times when a few are turned away because of the limited time and volunteers assisting.

"We see an average of 15 to 20 patients the one night of the week we are open. There are times we have to turn patients away due to the time restraints of the volunteering physicians," said France.

On Thursdays from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., a spiritual counselor will talk to the patients, pray with them and share information about God and the church.

"This service has been a blessing to our patients and they appreciate the fact that someone will listen and care for them. A spiritual counselor can also guide a patient to additional counseling services if needed," France said.

Providence Medical Clinic is located at 441 Clay Street, across from First Baptist Church. For more information about the clinic or volunteer opportunities there, call 423-247-4536. Please leave a message if no one answers, and someone will return your call. Or visit the website at

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