Pulaski Free Clinic benefits from more funding, new strategies

Leaders say it's a one-stop visit for many in need

By Tommy Lopez - Weekend Anchor / Reporter
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Radford University nursing faculty member Vicki Bierman working at the clinic Tuesday.

PULASKI, Va. - The Pulaski Free Clinic has been around for decades, but leaders say new funding and fresh thinking will take its quality of care to the next level.

A grant of more than $1 million is coming to Radford University, which it will use, in large part, for work in the clinic through a partnership, which started in 2014 and includes student nurses working in the clinic.

Care providers serve any adult in Pulaski who meets a maximum income requirement.

“The patients who come to the free clinic are uninsured,” Radford University nursing faculty member Vicki Bierman said. “They’re very appreciative and they’re very needy.”

But the building doesn’t function solely as a primary care facility. Executive director Linda Frank calls it integrated care. Nurses there may treat pain, drug abuse and provide psychiatric care all in one visit. Frank says they see around 650 patients every year.

“What we have is chronic illness combined with emotional illness and the two need a lot of education and a lot of caring from us to help the patient in their own self-management,” Bierman said.

Bierman says with potential cuts to Medicaid in the current Republican health-care plan, more patients may be uninsured.

“I’m worried about our current health care,” she said.

She added that the American health-care system should have the potential to help everyone.

“For me, I think it’s a right for all of us to have health care and we’re not providing that.”
 

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