Madison Heights, VA - The Amherst County Community Health Center has been treating patients since October, and held an official ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday afternoon.
The new community health center offers primary care, behavioral health and a pharmacy. More than a convenience, the center a safety net for people who would otherwise fall through the cracks.
The CEO sees the need every day.
Two weeks ago, a mother wanted to thank her.
"She said, 'This is the first time I've been able to take my two-year-old to the doctor,'" recalled Carolyn Bagley.
Bagley says of the 32,000 people in Amherst County, one third are well below the poverty line.
Amherst County's Board of Supervisors also acknowledge the impact a facility like this can make.
"We were in a desert. And we're not going to be in a desert any longer here in Amherst County," said Claudia Tucker, after the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The Johnson Health Center's new facility was made possible because of a $650,000 annual grant.
If serving the uninsured, underserved or low-income is considered a battle, Duane Kresge is on the front lines.
"When I was looking for this job, I asked specifically what their populace of underserved was," said Duane Kresge a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner.
At full staff, the center will hire 24 to 30 employees.
Bagley says they're investing in technology. The new additions will allow patients to track their lab results online, view x-rays, or monitor the effectiveness of a new medication.
"So that in the future they can take good care of themselves and avoid the diseases that seem to be so prevalent," Bagley explained.