County opens new health clinic in Nanjemoy
New facility targets rural, western area
For Charles County Government, finding a way to spread healthcare across the county has become a priority.
In 2016, the county’s health department took steps to implement a new mobile healthcare unit for countywide coverage. To follow up this year, the county has opened a new healthcare facility in Nanjemoy — the Western County Community Health Center — to create easier access for citizens in the western
portion of the county.
The health department partnered with Health Partners Inc., a local nonprofit organization dealing with healthcare, to provide citizens a new facility with in-house phy- sicians and service for at most 24 hours per week.
The county had a facili- ty in the western portion of the county previously that did not have enough staffing to adequately serve patients, but Charles County Commissioners’ President Peter Murphy (D) said this time around is different.
“We’ve got the help of Health Partners now,” Murphy said. “The physi- cians are there to support what we have here.”
Dr. Dianna Abney, health officer for Charles County’s Health Depart- ment, said she is “delight- ed” to be able to open a new facility and spread the county’s coverage. The goal, she said, is to bring “quality care” to all parts of the community and the county would not be able to do it without the help of Health Partners.
Abney said the initial goal for the facility was to open it with a public-private partnership, but could not find a private partner until recently with Health Partners.
Both the funding from county commissioners and the staffing from Health Partners coming together with the health department made Abney’s vision for the facili- ty finally come to life, she said.
“When Health Partners and the commissioners step up and say, ‘Hey, we can help make this a three-day, and ultimately a five-day-a-week clinic,’ who am I to say no?” she said.
The bottom line, Abney said, was that the people in western Charles Coun- ty needed to be provided with better healthcare and they also needed to get that assistance “in their own community.”
The clinic will be open for at least three days per week, Abney said, and could ultimately turn into a five-day clinic should funding increase in future county budget sessions. The department will be looking to add, in that time, mental and dental healthcare services to the facility as well.
The center will have one nurse practitioner, one medical assistant and one administrative assistant. The staff’s hours are not to exceed 24 per week at the facility, but they will be continuously available at the Health Partners Inc. clinic in Waldorf.
The county will fund $8,600 per month from January to June 2017 to assist in paying the clin- ic’s staff. Depending on the success of the model, future funds may be added according to a resolution drafted by the county commissioners.
Chrisie Mulcahey, the executive director of Health Partners Inc., said their goal is to provide and expand their services further into the community. This coming year will be the 25th anniversary of the nonprofit organization and there is no better way to get started, she said.
“I can’t think of a better way to kick this year off than to start here,” she said. “We’re very excited and we look forward to serving the primary care needs of the community.”
In addition to prima- ry care, she said, the company will provide a health educator. Preventative services along with colonoscopy screenings, mammograms, cervical cancer screenings and immunization clinics will be available, she said.
County Commissioner Debra Davis (D) said she has been an advocate in merging the different communities in the county “for a very long time.” Part of that merger, she said, includes healthcare.
“We’re not only diverse in race and religion, but we’re diverse in location. What’s good for the rural area might not necessarily be what’s good for Waldorf,” she said. “So we’ve had some challenges in the rural area. And we’ve had healthcare challenges. So to the extent that this helps relieve some of the healthcare acceptability challenges, I’m excited.”
The Charles County Commissioners, Health Partners and Health Department partner together to cut the ribbon down on a new health clinic in Nanjemoy targeting the Western portion of the county.
County Commissioners’ President Peter Murphy (D) signing a memorandum of understanding with Health Partners, Inc. Executive Director Chrisie Mulcahey to open up a new health clinic in Nanjemoy.
In partnership with Health Partners, Inc., Charles County Government opened the new Western County Community Health Center in Nanjemoy on Jan. 31. The clinic now provides primary healthcare for low-income residents in the western portion of the county. The board of commissioners attended with representatives from the Charles County Department of Community Services, Health Partners, Inc. and the Charles County Department of Health.