DICKENSON COUNTY, Va. (WJHL) – The oldest mobile medical van in the nation is set to open a brick and mortar clinic in Dickenson County this fall.
The Health Wagon’s new Clintwood clinic will provide primary and comprehensive care to patients, essentially providing them with whatever they could get at a typical doctor’s office.
“We’re there to provide free primary and comprehensive care, so anything that you would get at a traditional doctor’s office and get, with the caviot in Clintwood, we’re going to having eye services with our wonderful partnership with the University of Pikeville,” said family nurse practitioner Dr. Teresa Owens Tyson. “Because we know, down through the years, that eye services are in great need. So they can come in and get a comprehensive eye exam and we’ll be able to make eye glasses for them as well.”
The Sister Bernie Kenny Clinic will also provide eye exams and can provide glasses to patients thanks to a partnership with the University of Pikeville.
The clinic, named for the founder of the Health Wagon, will also be offering dental services 365 days a year once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
Health Wagon officials says the clinic was needed in Clintwood since Dickenson County is one of the poorest counties in Virginia.
“I see the shortage of health care professionals,” said Dr. Paula Hill-Collins, the clinical director of Health Wagon. “At one time, there was one doctor in the whole county. We do not have a hospital there; they have an urgent care and a geriatric physiciatric unit. There is so much lacking there.”
The Health Wagon plans to host a virtual ribbon cutting for the clinic on October 1.
In 2019, Health Wagon served 18,000 people across Southwest Virginia with a staff of 20 people. Only ten people on Health Wagon’s staff are full-time employees.