The future looked very bright for Teresa Havens and her family of Patrick Springs, VA. Her husband was employed by the railroad, which meant a good salary and great benefits. Teresa was pleased because she was covered under her husband’s pension plan. Teresa was able to stay home and devote her time to raising their 3 children; then things took a drastic turn. Her husband lost his job due to layoffs and the Havens were without the steady income and insurance they were used to.
Teresa suffered from migraines and wanted to see a physician in hopes of getting relief from the constant pain she endured. Teresa had heard of Caring Hearts Free Clinic of Patrick County and realized she had to do something. She made an appointment to be seen at the clinic. Teresa was evaluated by the staff and prescribed medication to alleviate the migraines. Teresa later developed a condition requiring additional medical attention and was seen by Pamela Wright, the volunteer Nurse Practitioner at Caring Hearts, who referred her to a specialist at Carilion in Rocky Mount, VA. Not only was Carilion able to take care of Teresa but she received financial assistance to cover her medical costs. Teresa stated that each time she visits the clinic; she tries to give what she can as a donation to help cover some of the costs incurred during her visit.
Her husband does not suffer any chronic health conditions but relies on the clinic for when he does require medical attention. Instances such as when he needs to get a physical to renew his CDL license to continue working and providing for their family.
The Havens work hard; Teresa is employed part-time with both the public school system as a substitute bus driver and as a care taker for the elderly. She also works as a consultant selling Thirty-One products. Her husband is employed with a local small business logging company. Unfortunately, none of these employers offer insurance coverage. Today’s market of unreasonably high premiums makes it impossible for most small businesses to afford the coverage for their employees. Insurance for a family plan purchased by an individual is exuberant and impossible for the Havens. Without free clinics like Caring Hearts, many citizens in the state would be in the same predicament as the Havens and would not have access to the health care that they desperately need. Caring Hearts Free Clinic has been a member of the Virginia Association of Free and Charitable Clinics since 2005. The clinic is supported by state and county funding as well as contributions from local civic organizations, businesses, and individuals. Caring Hearts hopes that you have enjoyed meeting our patients and are now, if not before, aware of the great value that the clinic provides to our citizens of our county.
I would like to extend a very heartfelt “thank you” to all who volunteer for our organization. There are too many to name each one individually but each and every one of our volunteers plays an integral part in providing health care to those in need. Our volunteer physicians and nurses log countless hours on top of their already full work and family schedules.
For more information on Caring Hearts Free Clinic of Patrick County or to learn how you can provide assistance, please call Susan Heath, Executive Director, at 276-694-3410 or visit our website at www.caringheartsclinic.org.
Neil and Mary Sue Pressley
"They Really Care"
Neil and Mary Sue Pressley are residents of the Claudville Community in Patrick County. Mary Sue is a homemaker and care provider for Neil’s mother, who has cancer. Neil is a pastor in a community church. The Pressleys can make ends meet on the income that Neil receives as a pastor however, insurance isn’t affordable for them. Mr. Pressley stated that he knows it has become common for churches not to provide insurance to their staff due to the rising cost of coverage.
The Pressleys learned of Caring Hearts Free Clinic of Patrick County through their church. When Mary Sue was informed about the clinic, she knew it was something that they should check in to, “I just knew I had to try for us”, she said. Neil wasn’t as easy to persuade, due to the fact that he had a hard time accepting something for free, but she finally convinced him to complete the paperwork necessary to qualify for the clinic’s services. They were amazed and thrilled that they did qualify for assistance.
On Mary Sue’s first visit she was seen by Pamela Wright, Family Nurse Practitioner, and was informed that among other medical problems, her blood pressure was very high. Mary Sue felt like she was treated like “royalty” during her visit. While there, the clinic helped her get the medication necessary to get her blood pressure under control. Regarding Pamela, Mary Sue says she was “really glad to have her on my side”. Mary Sue shared her experience with Neil and he was pleased with her first impression of the clinic. Mary Sue began encouraging Neil to go to the clinic and when a medical issue arose, he finally agreed to go. Neil’s experience was similar to Mary Sue’s. He was impressed with the staff and their ability to make him feel at ease; he says he felt “like they really care”. Neil states, “I am amazed that they really care about the people and treat them with such respect”. According to Neil, the impact that the clinic has had on his family is “indescribable to say the least”. Without the clinic, they feel they would be in grave danger of major medical problems. Medications wouldn’t be a possibility on their budget and medical care would be “just a dream and not a pleasant one” say the Pressleys.
“From the Pressley Family, we say thank you to all who support this clinic and provide a way that the people of Patrick County can find medical assistance. Without you they would have nothing. I know that there are others just like our family who need this extra help. To all the supporters we are depending on you. The life you save will be worth all the investment, I promise you. Jesus said ‘when you have done it unto the least of these you have done it unto me’.”
Healthcare is available for the elderly and children through federally funded programs such as Medicare and Medicaid however, there are no affordable options for the working class not covered by employer plans. These individuals fall through the cracks. Caring Hearts Free Clinic of Patrick County serves as a safety net for those individuals.
Caring Heart Free Clinic of Patrick County is open for appointment clinics on Tuesdays starting at 9 am and walk-in clinics every second and fourth Thursday with registration beginning at 2 pm. For information on providing your volunteer services or contributions, call Susan Heath, Executive Director, at 276-694-3410. Tax credits may be available for the professional or monetary assistance that you provid
"Help Bless Them the Way I have Been Blessed"
Patricia Upton, a 46 year old Patrick County native and resident, is a patient, volunteer, and employee of Caring Hearts Free Clinic of Patrick County. She is Caring Hearts! Patricia describes her life before finding Caring Hearts clinic as follows: “I had no energy, I hurt all over, I was overweight, depressed, cried all the time, could not breathe, could not walk up a hill without great effort. I had no job, no money to see a doctor and no money for medicines. I figured it was time to sign up for my social security. I knew this was going to take a couple of years and a lawyer so I decided to visit the clinic in the meantime.”
Within a month of visiting the clinic, Patricia was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, depression, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, acid reflux and asthma. Patricia was prescribed medicine to get her health problems under control and the MedAssist program, funded by the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Virginia Healthcare Foundation, and the Harvest Foundation, made it possible for her get the medications she needed. The county’s MedAssist representative is located in the clinic. Patricia also began to see a counselor to treat her depression and went to Carilion specialists for various tests and procedures needed to diagnose and treat her health conditions. Procedures at Carilion are possible through a partnership Caring Hearts established with Carilion to assist indigent patients that have been properly referred. In return for all the help that Patricia was receiving, she decided that she wanted to give something back; she began to volunteer at the clinic. Patricia has a degree in Administrative Support and she thought maybe there was something she could do to help.
Within a year of volunteering at Caring Hearts, Patricia had lost 35 pounds and was able to walk without feeling drained, and breathe without effort. She was able to stop taking all of her medication with the exception of the acid reflux and depression medicine. The fibromyalgia was under control with only small flare ups. Patricia canceled her application for Social Security Disability benefits. She now has not one, but two jobs! Part-time positions at both Caring Hearts Free Clinic and Pioneer Community Hospital compliment the skills she developed while working on her degree! (She was hired by the clinic in August of 2009 into a clerical and housekeeping position and by Pioneer Community Hospital in the Health Information Management department and has been there since October of 2009.) “I have discovered over the time that I have worked at the free clinic that no one would believe how many people in our community do not have insurance or can’t afford their medicines. Some of these people have to choose between taking their medicine and having food to eat” said Patricia.
Almost four years later, Patricia is still working for the clinic and according to her, “I not only can walk up a hill but I can run up it”. Patricia volunteered over 200 hours for the clinic in 2012 in addition to the paid hours she worked. She is one of the many success stories from Caring Hearts Free Clinic, an example of someone taking initiative to help herself. She is working hard at two jobs and still unable to afford health insurance in today’s economy. Patricia was able to help herself immensely after receiving the help made possible by donations from caring citizens in our community.
You can meet Patricia at the clinic during the appointment or walk-in clinic. Patricia offered, “You, the people of Patrick County and surrounding areas are the reason the clinic is still here and any help you can provide to the clinic is greatly appreciated. Your donations can help many people with the medicine and care they need. Help bless them the way I have been blessed.”
This is the story of one patient at Caring Hearts Free Clinic. In 2012, we had 834 other stories to tell. Caring Hearts Free Clinic of Patrick County is committed to providing free, non-judgmental quality healthcare to those in need. Through these stories, the clinic hopes the citizens of the County will learn more about who Caring Hearts Free Clinic of Patrick County serves and how you can help. Patrick County relies on Caring Hearts to help underserved, uninsured citizens with the most basic of needs. The clinic relies on the citizens of the County to help those that need it most; there were over 2,220 volunteered hours served at Caring Hearts in 2012. Even with the generosity of the current volunteer staff, there is a great need for volunteer Physicians and Nurses at the clinic as there are always more patients than appointments at every clinic. Stay tuned for more stories about Caring Hearts Free Clinic of Patrick County throughout the month of July. For more information or any questions, please call Susan Heath, Executive Director at 276-694-3410.
Roger and Helen Wall
"They gave it the right name, 'Caring Hearts'"
A smile that would light up a room and a soft spoken sweet soul, that’s what you get when you meet Roger and Helen Wall of Stuart, VA. Roger and Helen have been married for 41 years; they just celebrated their anniversary on July 2. They have 2 sons and daughters-in-law and five grandchildren. The Walls are members of Trinity Baptist Church of Claudville, VA and are diehard Tarheel fans despite their current zipcode, which makes them “cabbage heads” according to Mr. Wall.
Mr. and Mrs. Wall were living in Siloam, North Carolina when the companies they worked for closed. Roger had been employed with Proctor-Silex for 32 years and Helen worked at Quality Mills, later Cross Creek Apparel, for 24 years. Without notice, they lost their jobs and their insurance, a story all too familiar to the staff at Caring Hearts Free Clinic of Patrick County. At that time, Mr. and Mrs. Wall moved to Stuart to begin missionary work where they assisted with Ministry of Helps. Their only income at that time was that of supporting churches. Mr. Wall was seeing a physician in Mt. Airy, NC for his chronic health conditions and as a result, the bills became overwhelming and unmanageable. When they determined that without insurance and steady income they could not stay on top of their health care costs, they decided to try Caring Hearts Free Clinic of Patrick County. When Mr. Wall came to the clinic, the volunteer physicians adjusted his medication and continued his care plan. He was able to continue with a healthy life despite his lack of insurance. Mr. Wall is now eligible to receive Medicare and is no longer a patient, as the clinic only sees uninsured citizens.
Helen is not yet eligible for Medicare and is still a patient of the clinic. Mrs. Wall stated that she only comes to the clinic when she absolutely has to because she knows there are others that are in need of care as well. Mrs. Wall also has a chronic health condition and is able to have periodic checks of her health to prevent major problems from going undetected. When discussing her experience at the clinic she stated, “They gave it the right name ‘Caring Hearts’ ”.
With their health care under control, Mr. and Mrs. Wall were able to continue their ministry work with Blue Mountain Baptist Homes and The Craftsmen for Christ. When their work at both of those organizations was complete, they traveled to West Virginia to help churches that needed re-establishing and currently volunteer with their church and bus ministry.
This is another example of the valuable citizens of the County that rely on the services of Caring Hearts Free Clinic of Patrick County. Mr. and Mrs. Wall give back to the community in return for what the community has given to them. There are many volunteers that are not mentioned in this article that dedicate their time and skills to the clinic in many capacities and for many hours. Without the volunteers, there would be no clinic and no success stories such as the Wall’s. Community civic groups, businesses, or individuals that would like to contribute to the clinic monetarily or in a professional capacity should contact Susan Heath, Executive Director at 276-694-3410. Ask about Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP) credits that may result in big savings on your income tax return.
"I'm Lucky to be Alive"
When asked if he’d tell his story and allow his picture to be taken to accompany a story for Caring Hearts Free Clinic of Patrick County, Herman Linster didn’t give a moment’s hesitation. He said, “Sure, where and what time do you want me to be there?” The Caring Hearts Free Clinic staff is happy to see Mr. Linster when he walks through the doors. He is gracious and kind and always offers a smile and friendly conversation. His smile probably comes from the fact that he says he feels lucky to be alive. In his lifetime, Mr. Linster has suffered a mini stroke, heart attack and aneurysm. His chronic health conditions require medical attention and without Caring Hearts Free Clinic, Mr. Linster’s outlook would be rather grim.
In 2009, Mr. Linster was working in the shipping department at a local lumber facility when he suffered a heart attack. Within two weeks, he was laid off from his job and two months prior to being laid off, he had been informed his health insurance had been cancelled. With no income, no insurance, and as an alternative to incurring medical bills he knew he couldn’t pay, Mr. Linster came to Caring Hearts for the follow up care he required after his heart attack. Since then, he has received the care necessary to keep his chronic health problems under control and has not had any further serious complications. Through referral from our clinic, Mr. Linster has been able to visit with specialists at Carilion facilities to receive the care necessary for his chronic health conditions.
Mr. Linster is a Patrick County native and resident and served in the military from 1980-1982. He has two sons, three grandsons and one granddaughter and is the primary care taker of his mother. He attends Samaria Holiness Church in Stuart, VA where he enjoys participating in the events hosted there. Caring Hearts Free Clinic is happy to serve patients like Mr. Linster whose health, without assistance from the clinic, would prevent him from living life to the fullest and being there for his loved ones who need him.
The lab work, tests, and special procedures necessary for patients like Mr. Linster are provided by partners of the clinic at Laboratory Corporation of America, Pioneer Community Hospital, Memorial Hospital of Martinsville and Carilion facilities. These services are provided either free of charge or at greatly reduced prices. The value of total donated services in 2012 was over $375,000. This figure does not include reduced amounts covered by patients through financial arrangements between themselves and the facility. Even with the generosity of the partners of the clinic, the actual amount paid for special procedures and prescriptions for 2012 from the clinic’s budget was almost $34,000. For information on how to help the clinic cover these medically necessary tests and procedures, call Susan Heath, Executive Director at 276-694-3410. Your contribution may reduce your tax liability more than you realize, ask about NAP credits available.
Patrick County ranks as a Medically Underserved Area. There currently are 2,080 potential patients for each physician -- more than double state and national rates. The Commonwealth of Virginia rate is 806 patients/physician and the national benchmark is 631 patients/physician.
Patrick County residents have a tremendous barrier to acquiring health care.
With the added burden of a severe economic downturn and growing unemployment rates, over 25% of our community members are currently unemployed. All total, over 45% of the citizens in Patrick County have no medical insurance.
Your Gifts Matter -- It takes a Village!
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When customers shop on AmazonSmile (smile.amazon.com), the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to the charitable organizations selected by customers. Log on using this link each time you shop; sign in to your Amazon Account and register with Caring Hearts Free Clinic.
Caring Hearts Free Clinic is please to be part of the Neighborhood Assistance Program of Virgina (NAP). This programs allows a state tax credit for monetary contributions to a non-profit medical and/or education based organization. A business' contribution of at least $1000 or an individual’s contribution of at least $500 is eligible for a 65% Virginia income tax credit.
This means, for example, that an individual’s total contribution of $500.00 ($1000.00 business) would allow a $325.00 ($650.00) tax credit with Virginia state income tax, in addition to whatever federal tax benefit it may bring. NAP contributions may be made anytime throughout the fiscal year recognized by the state.
We ask that you take this opportunity to provide the clinic with the funding needed to continue its work. We'll make it easy, just click the link below or Contact Susan at Caring Hearts Free Cinic. Thank You!
Volunteers have made the clinic what it is today. Each year over 1000 hours of volunteer time by more than 60 people has kept our doors open to the people needing it the most. Medical staff, clerks, counselors. receptionists and office staff all work together in a cooperative effort to make this program a success. If you would like to volunteer, please Contact Christie at the clinic -- and welcome aboard!
From a Dream to a Reality -- For Our Community and for Our Future
March, 2004: A core group of interested Patrick County citizens meet to discuss the need of providing medical care assistance to medically uninsured citizens of the county. A “steering committee” forms to identify the needs and to form a non-profit entity designed to provide such services. The steering committee identifies the needs as being primary medical treatment (regardless of an individual’s ability to pay for such services), medical screening, and a referral resource for the community and other service organizations.*
April 22, 2004: The steering committee elects a Board of Directors, an Executive Committee and submits Articles of Incorporation to the State of Virginia for the “Caring Hearts Free Clinic of Patrick County”. *
May 10, 2004: Corporation status is granted the Caring Hearts Free Clinic of Patrick County.*
Summer, 2004: The Governing Board of PCH Operations, LLC, dba R.J. Reynolds Patrick County Memorial Hospital provides space in a clinic building at no charge as a site for the clinic’s operation. The United Methodist Church Danville District provides medical office furniture and equipment to the clinic. These gifts were previously given by Dr. Castillo for the purpose of establishing a free clinic upon his retirement.*
September, 2004: A community fund raising dinner is held in late September 2004 and the clinic also begins receiving contributions from the community.*
December, 2004: Volunteer personnel provide services covering medical care, nursing care, counseling, optometry, pain management and mammography screening.
March 22, 2005: Caring Hearts Free Clinic of Patrick County advised that it had been granted an exemption from Federal income tax under section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code, that contributions to the Free Clinic were deductible under section 170 of the Code and that the Free Clinic was qualified to receive tax deductible bequests, devises, transfers or gifts under section 2055, 2106 or 2522 of the Code. Caring Hearts Free Clinic of Patrick County is determined to be a public charity under the Code.*
February, 2006: Caring Hearts Free Clinic of Patrick County becomes a member of the Virginia Association of Free Clinics.
Spring, 2006: Caring Hearts Free clinic receives an endowment trust following the sale of RJR-PC Memorial Hospital.
September 1, 2006: Caring Hearts Free Clinic of Patrick County hires its first part-time Executive Director.
April, 2007: Caring Hearts Free Clinic opens its door for its first day clinics. Clinics are held two mornings a week. Day clinics are closed one year later due to a shortage of medical personnel.
Fall, 2008: Day clinics reopen two mornings a week. A Dental Triage service is made available with the aid of three local hygienists; two Patrick County dentists each offer to work with four critical patients a month. Through the efforts of volunteer medical and lay staffing, a Women’s Health Clinic is provided approximately every six weeks.
Spring, 2010: Appointment clinic now available on first and third Thursday nights with a Physician's Assistant.
Fall, 2010: Appointment clinic open each Tuesday with a Family Nurse Practitioner.
*Historical data provided by Harold Edwards, CHFC Treasurer, 2004 --2010
We are a volunteer-driven organization committed to creating solutions for a healthy community of all ages by: removing barriers to access; treating holistically with dignity, with respect and without judgment; providing primary care service and health education; and providing support and referral services to those without access to basic health care.
Our mission is to provide free, non-judgmental, quality healthcare to those in need by using a solid base of culturally diverse community resources.
4th Annual Caring Hearts Healthy Soles 10K/5K Fitness Run/Walk