Clinic offers medical, dental and mental health services

Dr. Joan Pino and dental assistant Candy Taylor work on a patient in one of the seven dental chairs that are available at the Shenandoah Community Health Clinic in Woodstock. Rich Cooley/Daily
Pam Murphy, executive director of the Shenandoah Community Health Clinic in Woodstock, sits inside one of the clinic's five medical rooms. This room also serves as an office for mental health services, which the clinic started offering last year. Rich Cooley/Daily

WOODSTOCK – In 2015, the medical clinic at the Shenandoah Community Health Clinic  saw 700 patients during 3,000 visits and its dental clinic saw  1,100 patients during 2,000 visits.

The clinic, also known as the Shenandoah Free Clinic, offers medical, dental and mental health services to Shenandoah County residents who are uninsured or underinsured and fall below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, according to Pam Murphy, the clinic’s executive director.

There are 16 part-time employees between the two clinics and 30 volunteers who work weekly, as well as volunteers who help out a few times throughout the year.  Among the helpers at the clinic are students from James Madison University and Lord Fairfax Community College.

“We could always use more volunteers,” Murphy said, explaining that volunteering could involve medical or dental assistance, or bringing in meals for the volunteer staff.

On Thursday nights, they try to have meals for volunteers to thank them for their time and commitment.

The clinic is actually two clinics, and both the medical and dental clinics are handicapped accessible. There is a separate entrance and extra wide doors to medical and dental rooms to accommodate those in wheelchairs.

“Almost everyday we have a van pull up from the nursing home with someone in a wheelchair. It is set up (so) we can actually bring a bed in here,” Murphy said.

One change at the clinic made within the past year was converting to an electronic medical records system, she said, noting that has saved time and has made information more readily available.

Patients seen between the two clinics vary.  Murphy said the medical side tends to see more adults with chronic illnesses, while the dental clinic sees more children.

There are five medical rooms in the clinic.  Within the medical clinic, rooms are also set up with chairs to accommodate mental health discussions that need to be conducted in a more comfortable environment, as “we started offering more mental health, behavorial health services,” Murphy said.

There are psychiatric nurse practitioners and a counselor on staff for these services.

“If we can help you get a grip on what’s wrong and help you get past it,” she said, “And that happens through talking and listening and being guided to think about ‘you’re really stronger than you think you are’.”

“It’s definitely something we’re trying to grow,” she said.

One of the medical rooms is also set up as a gynecology room for PAP exams and other cancer screening exams.

A lab is also set up in the clinic for basic testings, but tests can also be sent to Shenandoah Memorial Hospital.

Dental clinic services include routine cleanings and exams, restorative care and extractions and holds seven chairs.

The dental clinic provides care primarily to families with Medicaid coverage as other dentist offices usually don’t accept Medicaid for dental procedures, Murphy said.

The health clinic is open Monday through Thursday. The medical clinic is generally open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursdays. The dental clinic is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday. Times may vary depending on staffing.

The clinic is located at 124 Valley Vista Drive in Woodstock. For more information visit its website at http://shenclinic.org. To reach the medical clinic, call 540-459-1700. For the dental clinic, call 540-459-9333.

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or ktoy@nvdaily.com

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