The Northern Neck Free Clinic Valley Wins Virginia Health Care Foundation Prize

Kilmarnock, VA - Half a million prescriptions filled. Over 150,000 patient visits and $92 million worth of healthcare provided. These are only a few of the Northern Neck Free Clinic's (NNFC) recent milestones. Two decades after awarding NNFC its first grant, the Virginia Health Care Foundation (VHCF) has recognized the clinic for its incredible progress over the years. Founded in 1993 as a small, one-night-a-week operation, NNFC has used funding from VHCF and the community to transform itself into a large, full-time clinic providing essential medical, dental, pharmacy, and behavioral health services to uninsured and underserved residents in Lancaster, Middlesex, Northumberland, Richmond, and Westmoreland Counties. The clinic's extraordinary expansion and considerable impact have won NNFC the $10,000 Second Place Prize in the Virginia Health Care Foundation's (VHCF) recent Prizes for Progress contest.

"We established the Prizes for Progress contest as a special way to celebrate our 25th anniversary and recognize our dedicated health safety net partners," said Debbie Oswalt, VHCF's Executive Director. "Both current and former grantees were invited to share the ways in which VHCF funding has helped their organizations grow and succeed over the last 25 years."

Out of dozens of compelling entries, NNFC's strategic use of VHCF funding and support was especially remarkable. With careful management and planning, NNFC has used each VHCF grant as a springboard into the clinic's future. VHCF's first grant allowed NNFC to hire a full-time Nurse Practitioner - making it possible for the clinic to start seeing patients five days a week. With the next grant, NNFC was able to build, staff, and operate its first six-chair dental clinic - which opened to a waitlist of 500 people. Additional VHCF grants were similarly invested in the clinic's growth and expansion, and now NNFC offers everything from integrated behavioral healthcare to dental services to local residents.

VHCF's Prizes for Progress contest also recognized two other Virginia health safety net organizations for their extraordinary growth and development over the last 25 years. The Health Wagon of Wise, Virginia was awarded the Grand Prize of $15,000 for their entry highlighting their organization's many innovative programs - including providing essential healthcare services via telehealth and delivering lifesaving medications to remote locations with drones. The Community Health Center of the New River Valley tied the NNFC for second place and also received $10,000 in prize money. In addition to rewarding these organizations' remarkable progress, the unrestricted prize money will help support their continued growth and development in the years to come.

The Virginia Health Care Foundation is a non-profit public/private partnership with a mission to increase access to primary health care for uninsured and medically underserved Virginians. Initiated by the General Assembly and its Joint Commission on Health Care in 1992, the Foundation has funded 392 community-based projects across the Commonwealth, and its programs and partnerships have touched the lives of more than 700,000 uninsured Virginians.

For more information about VHCF and its programs, visit www.vhcf.org or call (804) 828-5804.

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