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CHCNRV Matters

March 23, 2016 at 10:34 PM

Why the Community Health Center of the New River Valley matters to me.

By Todd Marcum


I don’t live in the New River Valley. I don’t know very many people who live in the New River Valley. I have a doctor I’ve gone to for years in Roanoke. It would appear that I don’t have a lot of connection to the Community Health Center. That would be where you are wrong.

I have worked with the Community Health Center as a vendor for a number of years. It didn’t take me long to become a supporter and then a donor. Part of the reason is that in my capacity, I got to meet a lot of people who work for the health of the patients who come there. They are an inspiring bunch.

At one point, I was asked to do an interview with Dr. Hardee for a video.  It’s not uncommon for me to do some background research on the people I interview.  With a quick search on the Internet, I found out that he was a very good football player before going to medical school. The interesting thing to me was not that his coaches talked about his accomplishments on the field, which were quite impressive. The words they used to describe him were “hardworking,” “leadership,” “focus,” and “commitment.” It is no wonder that he would adapt these skills to become an exceptional doctor.

I met other health professionals at the Health Center who showed similar commitments to the fields of medicine, dental and mental health.  The administrators, who admittedly hold a much less sexy role in the function of the Health Center, work hard to make sure that it is moving forward and able to meet the needs of people, whether they are insured or uninsured.

Sitting in the waiting room, I saw that everyone was treated respectfully and that their concerns were heard.

I met a woman who grows vegetables for the patients. And another who volunteers her time as a medical professional.

But maybe the thing that sold me the most was getting to visit with the people who come here to have their medical needs met.

I met a woman whose very life was probably saved because a friend directed her to the Community Health Center after she had lost her health insurance. The doctor here found her cancer early and she got the surgery she needed.

I met a couple that had come to America and had fallen through the gaps of the healthcare system, but the Community Health Center was able to meet their needs.

I met a businessman who had lost everything when his partner had embezzled from the business. He had had a health reversal partially due to the stress, but the care here had gotten him back on track.

The closer you look at this organization, the more there is to like.  I plan to stay involved, and this fall I will begin doing some other simple things to help…like getting my flu shot at the Community Health Center instead of a big national brand drug store. My wife, who has back pain, may come for a spinal manipulation from Dr. Turner. There are lots of services that can be accessed with very little wait, and because we have good insurance, those reimbursements benefit the Community Health Center.

The more you look at the Community Health Center the more you’ll appreciate it.  I urge you to take a closer look at the services they offer as well as the people that offer those services.