Charlottesville Free Clinic searches for new location

Charlottesville Free Clinic searches for new location
Charlottesville Free Clinic (Source: WVIR)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A Charlottesville nonprofit that provides health care for people without insurance is searching for a new home.

Citing financial hits from the COVID-19 health crisis, the Thomas Jefferson Health District ended the free clinic’s lease agreement at the Rose Hill Drive site. The clinic has been located there for more than two decades.

“It’s been a great partnership, a really great partnership, we’re sorry to see it end. I think it had a lot of value for our community to have us sharing this space,” Charlottesville Free Clinic’s Executive Director Colleen Keller said.

After working with the Virginia Department of Health, the free clinic will be able to keep their dental operation at the Rose Hill site but will need to relocate everything else.

“The evening clinic is a big challenge, we need 14 rooms to set up medical exam rooms, space for a pharmacy and then 20-25 parking spaces, so I mean that is really the challenge. We’re hoping for a community partner that will let us use those evening hours in a set up place,” Keller said.

The pharmacy at the free clinic fills 27,000 prescriptions and has about 8,000 health care visits a year. Keller’s top priority is finding a new home that accessible to those who need health care, especially during a pandemic.

“This is a town that’s rich in health care resources. This just moves them across town and opens them up. And when we’re going to go into this level of unemployment you just have got to have it because it really is the gateway to people to stay healthy and stay out of the hospital,” Keller said.

The Thomas Jefferson Health district says this change is a direct result of the recent and upcoming expansion of programs and services at the Charlottesville/Albemarle Health Department, including the addition of 25 contract employees to conduct COVID-19 testing, case investigations, and contact tracing to support public health emergency operations.

The free clinic has until November 1 to find a new location.

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