Pearl, 80, once crafted beautiful blankets for family members and never missed a stitch. Pearl now suffers from severe dementia and is confined mostly to her bed at her home in Menifee County. Treva, her daughter, provides constant care. Routinely, Treva opens their door to Dr. Anthony Weaver and Physician's Assistant Shelley Irving from People's Clinic of Morehead. The two provide symptom management for Pearl as well as support for Treva as caregiver. "Her mother is Treva's quilt," says Dr. Weaver. "Everything is hand-stitched and she doesn't tolerate sloppiness."
Pearl is one of the patients the staff from People's Clinic see on house calls. The clinic, joined by NewHope Clinic in Owingsville, provides free medical services for patients who can't afford a primary care provider. With clinics and concierge services, health care is reaching far across the valleys of rural Kentucky.
NewHope Clinic, directed by Dr. Weaver and staffed by Nurse Practitioner Julia Maness and PA Bill Grimes, opened in 2000. The 1,500-person Owingsville community came together to renovate the building and upgrade machines. The clinic sees as many as 30 patients a day. "We uncovered a lot of illness," says Julia. "It took time to funnel people into care."
Both clinics receive government and private funding. NewHope is backed by People's Bank of Owingsville, while People's Clinic receives contributions from several churches and individuals. Clinic staffs volunteer their services. Both clinics are open one day a week.
"Each time a needy person comes to the clinic for help and we are able to provide him or her with healing and caring. We do it in the name of the community," says Bill. He quotes poet Wendell Berry: "In health the flesh is graced, the holy enters the world."