The Tri-Area Health Center in Ferrum has been awarded $1 million by Health and Human Services (HHS) to be used toward construction of a comprehensive health center and pharmacy.
The new facility will include space for medical, pharmacy, behavioral health and dental services.
Fund-raising efforts are underway to secure additional capital needed for the project. The facility will be located on a seven-acre parcel purchased in 2011 on Ferrum Mountain Road, contiguous to the Ferrum College Campus.
The Tri-Area Community Health Center was originally established at Laurel Fork and has served the tri-area region of Carroll, Patrick and Floyd Counties for more than three decades. Now in its 34th year of business, it currently serves more than 8,000 patients 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.”
Tri-Area Community Health at Ferrum is a non-profit, federally funded community health center currently located in the lower level of Vaughn Chapel on the Ferrum College campus. The present health center and pharmacy began operations in Ferrum in 2007 when Tri-Area Community Health expanded its organization from the original site at Laurel Fork.
“We are excited about the opportunity to expand our facility and services at Ferrum,” said Debra Shelor, executive director of Tri-Area Community Health. “The new facility will allow us to better serve our increasing patient population and address unmet health needs of the community, such as dental.”
“Smaller communities and rural areas have particular challenges when it comes to providing affordable health care,” said Vaughan Webb, a member of the health center’s board of directors. “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.”
Tri-Area Community Health has enjoyed a close partnership with Ferrum College for 10 years, providing student health services for more than 1,400 students while serving the surrounding community.
Dr. Jennifer Braaten, Ferrum College president, said, “Tri-Area Community Health has brought much needed services to the Ferrum area. Countless college students and community residents have benefitted from the quality care they have received and the growth in demand continues. New and enlarged clinic space is essential and will provide a center of health care in our region.”
The clinic at Ferrum is staffed by a physician, three physician assistants, a nurse practitioner, a psychologist and two pharmacists. In addition to participating with most insurance coverage, the center offers a sliding fee program
with discounts based on income.
The award was one of 260 funded nationwide, totaling over $260 million, and one of eight in Virginia, totaling $7,647,831.
The Martinsville-Henry County Coalition for Health and Wellness received an award of $950,602.
Funding comes from the Affordable Care Act’s Community Health Center Fund. Health centers will use this funding to increase their patient capacity and to provide additional comprehensive primary and preventive health services to medically underserved populations.