For Charles Davis and Patricia Cochran, the Eastern Panhandle Care Clinic helped saved their lives.
“If it wasn’t for them, I would probably be dead right now,” Cochran said.
“They helped me get rid of cancer and helped with my diabetes,” Davis said. “Things like that, if it wasn’t for them probably would have went unnoticed, and like I said, I don’t know where I would be.”
The place that many consider to be their only option for health care will close its door in July due to financial hardships.
“The cuts come from the state line item that funded the free clinics throughout West Virginia, and also the budget in West Virginia has been pretty tight,” said Michele Goldman, executive director of the Eastern Panhandle Care Clinic. “I think there is a misconception that Medicaid was going to make the difference in our budget.”
The clinic serves those in the area that are low income, uninsured and Medicaid eligible. Officials said the clinic is currently at a $130,000 deficit.
“I know there is a lot being done to find primary care providers to fit the current need, so adding 900 more to the mix is going to make it really tough,” Goldman said.
In the meantime, the clinic is helping patients find other options.
“We really don’t want to go anywhere but here, but thanks to them and the help, we got a new doctor and we are good to go now,” said Heather Stallings, patient.
“They helped me to be able to go and find somewhere else to go since they wont be here, but my concern is what is going to happen to the rest of the people who are going to need help,” Davis said.
“I don’t know where I am going to go,” said Ann Prescott, patient. “I can’t afford it. I have no insurance, so they mean a lot to me.”
The facility will see its last patient on July 29.
Officials said they have alerted the emergency rooms in Jefferson and Berkeley County that more of their patients might seek hospital care as a last resort.
They are also going to use any leftover funds to help other health care facilities in the community.