CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — The Chesapeake Care Clinic, a medical and dental clinic designed to help the working poor, will now serve even more patients than ever before. The clinic is raising its income limits and expanding its service area.
“Without them I really wouldn’t be able to live,” said Charisse Johnson, who has diabetes and a thyroid condition. She’s received treatment from Chesapeake Care for 15 years.
Clinic board member Maryellen Remich says the target patient population is an ever-growing yet underserved portion of the health care system.
“There are so many people who cannot get medical insurance.”
In fact, that’s the first key requirement — patients must have no medical coverage at all before they can qualify for Chesapeake Care.
Thanks to the expansion of Medicaid, Chesapeake Care is now accepting patients at three times the poverty level rather than double, and patients can now live anywhere in Virginia, not just Chesapeake.
Dr. Nick Ilchyshyn is one of more than 200 volunteer providers at Chesapeake Care. He’s also helping to train the doctors of tomorrow, including students from EVMS. They watched closely Tuesday morning as Ilchyshyn performed periodontal surgery.
He says preventive dental care will help to avert abscesses and infections that can lead to dire, even deadly complications. “The presence of this clinic here basically helps prevent people from ending up in the emergency room.”
Dr. Beaumont Hodge practiced internal medicine for 50 years, and now he gets personal fulfillment from helping patients with few options.
“It’s very nice, it’s very rewarding to be able to do that,” Hodge said, “because these people really don’t have a good place to go.”
Remich summed up the clinic’s mission ever since it opened in 1992. “If we can raise the health of the community, we raise the community as a whole.”
Dental visits cost $30, medical visits, just $10. But the big savings for Charisse Johnson are at the pharmacy counter.
“For a month’s supply of insulin, I’m paying about $5 instead of $5,000, so that’s really helpful and it helps me to have a good life.”
The clinic says its partnership with Chesapeake Regional Medical Center is vital to its mission. The hospital provides free labs, x-rays and patient admissions.