Health center slated to open

ROCK CAVE – Community Care of West Virginia plans to open what will be the only federally qualified health care center in Lewis County, thanks to the receipt of more than $700,000 in federal funding.

In a press release issued on National Rural Health Day Thursday, Sen. Joe Manchin, Sen. Jay Rockefeller and Rep. Nick Rahall said Community Care based in Rock Cave and Williamson Health and Wellness Center in Williamson will receive a combined $1.5 million from the Affordable Care Act through the Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration’s Health Access Point grant program.

Community Care of West Virginia maintains nine sites in six counties, including Upshur, Braxton, Harrison, Pocahontas, Randolph and Clay, its chief operations officer Brock Malcolm said. Its local site in Rock Cave is the Tri-County Health Clinic.

Malcolm said the $704,167 Community Care of West Virginia is receiving will be used to open and operate a federally qualified health center in Lewis County, which currently lacks one.

The center must be open in 120 days, which is a tight turnaround time, Malcolm said.

“It’s a good problem to have,” he remarked. “This (funding) just helps us continue our mission of being an access point for people who can’t otherwise afford quality health care, so we’re going to be able to hire a doctor and staff it and open it up.”

Although he declined to give a specific address, Malcolm said the site will be situated in a shopping center along U.S. Route 33 in Lewis County. It will be open in the evening and on weekends, “when people would otherwise not have access to care or would have to go to the emergency room,” Malcolm said.

Community Care of West Virginia served about 35,000 people at 16 school-based health centers and nine regular sites in 2012.