Tri-Area Community Health, which currently operates a health center located in the lower level of Vaughn Chapel on the Ferrum College Campus, recently received a $1 million expansion grant award from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS). This funding is planned to be used toward construction of a comprehensive health center and pharmacy in Ferrum. The new facility will include space for medical, pharmacy, behavioral health, and dental services. The facility will be located on a 7-acre parcel purchased in 2011 on Ferrum Mountain Road, contiguous to the Ferrum College campus.
The award was one of 290 funded nationwide, totaling over $260 million. Funding comes from the Affordable Care Act’s Community Health Center Fund. Health centers will use this funding to increase patient capacity and to provide additional comprehensive primary and preventive health services to medically underserved populations.
“We are excited about the opportunity to expand our facility and services at Ferrum. The new facility will allow us to better serve our increasing patient population and address unmet health needs of the community such as dental,” said Debra Shelor, Executive Director of Tri-Area Community Health.
Tri-Area Community Health at Ferrum is a non-profit, federally funded Community Health Center (FQHC) which offers patients access to high-quality, low cost primary care services. FQHCs accept all patients regardless of insurance or employment status.
The present health center and pharmacy began operations in Ferrum in 2007 when Tri-Area Community Health expanded their organization from their original site at Laurel Fork, Virginia. Tri-Area Community Health, in its 34th year in business, serves over 8,000 patients, logging 25,000 visits annually at its three locations in Ferrum, Laurel Fork, and Floyd.
“We have waited for this day for a long time,” said Martha Puckett, Office Manager at Tri-Area Community Health at Ferrum. “By expanding our facility, we will be able to better serve all of our community. Our goal is to provide the best medical care to all residents, regardless of income or ability to pay.”
The health center is governed by a community board of directors. Three residents of Ferrum and Rocky Mount serve on the 12 member board: Vaughan Webb, Larry Meadors, and Chip Phillips. “Smaller communities and rural areas have particular challenges when it comes to providing affordable health care,” said Webb. “This $1,000,000 federal grant shows that Tri-Area Community Health knows how to meet those needs and can do even more for Franklin County and the region with expanded facilities and services.”
Larry Meadors noted that Tri Area Community Health is a very important part of the small community, taking care of locals’ health needs, as well as the needs of those from outside the immediate area. “We are so fortunate to have the convenience of a clinic and pharmacy in Ferrum that offers such quality care,” added Meadors.
Tri-Area Community Health has enjoyed a close partnership with Ferrum College for 10 years, providing student health services for over 1,400 students while serving the surrounding community. Ferrum College President, Dr. Jennifer Braaten, remarked on how Tri-Area Community Health has brought much needed services to the Ferrum area. “Countless college students and community residents have benefited from the quality care they have received and the growth in demand continues,” said Braaten. “New and enlarged clinic space is essential and will provide a center of health care in our region.”
Tri-Area Community Health and Pharmacy at Ferrum is currently accepting new patients. It is staffed by Dr. Tabassum Subuhi; Physician Assistants April Hazelwood, Lauren Roux, and Brittany Butler; Nurse Practitioner Beth Hubbard; Psychologist Laura Ely; and Pharmacists James Pate and Hugh Green. In addition to participating with most insurances, a sliding fee program is available with discounts based upon income. Hours of operation are Monday – Friday, 8:30 – 5:00 PM. Please call (540-365-4469) to make an appointment, or for more information.