By Angie Stewart
As a recent hire here at NACHC, I was given the opportunity to visit a local Community Health Center (CHC) to witness firsthand how a health center operates on the front lines. The team at Loudoun Community Health Center (Loudoun CHC) was gracious enough to open its doors and provide a snapshot of the work they do, providing services to a community that has been hard-hit by the recession. Not long ago, Loudoun was one of the fastest growing and prosperous counties in America. The booming real estate industry in the area provided jobs for blue- and white- collar workers alike, from construction workers to executives. Today, it’s a different story. More than 60 percent of Loudoun CHC’s patients are uninsured, unemployed workers who lost their employer-sponsored insurance coverage along with their jobs in the recent recession.
Stephanie Kenyon, Chief Operating Officer at Loudoun CHC, provided a tour of the facility, where the staff is doing great work in a very cramped space that was once a hospital maternity ward. A dedicated group of five physicians share three desks in a small office. As Stephanie walked me past the exam rooms, she was a little disappointed that she couldn’t show me one because almost all of them were being used to treat patients. This is nothing new at Loudon CHC; there is currently a 500-person waiting list!
Stephanie and her staff have great hopes for health reform and the investment the new law will provide to health centers like hers. She hopes that part of the $11 billion directed toward health centers will allow Loudoun CHC to expand services at a new facility, where they can accommodate more patients and hire more staff. The hospital that has generously donated space will be renovating its building soon, putting Loudoun CHC out of a home unless the much-needed support is given.
Take a moment to meet Stephanie and Loudoun CHC Chief Executive Officer Debra Dever in our short video.