The idea for a local medical clinic to serve the "working poor," or those who are employed but cannot afford insurance, came out of a mid-1997 discussion among members of the Abingdon Episcopal Church outreach committee. As enthusiasm for the idea spread from the church members to the community, including local medical professionals, it wasn’t long before the idea took to life.
Supporters kicked off a $74,000 drive for funds to establish the Clinic and cover its expenses through 1998. By December 1997, the Gloucester Mathews Free Clinic founded.
Furthering the impressive efforts of the initial fund drive, the Riverside Walter Reed Hospital contributed a matching grant of $25,000 and use of its former 1,200sq-ft satellite facility at Gloucester Point. Continuous efforts by volunteers and community partners pushed funding for the Clinic to surpass its goal by March-1998. And a mere 6-months later on the hot and humid evening of August 1, 1998, the Clinic celebrated its ribbon cutting and saw its first 12-patients.
From mid-1998 through the early 2000’s, the Clinic's patient population continued to grow as did the number of volunteers and services that the Clinic provided.
ADVANCEMENTS TO THE PHARMACY
As far back as the Clinics formative years, Dr. Arnold, one of the Clinic founders along with Peggy Bowditch, insisted on the need for an in-house pharmacy in order to know patients had access to prescribed medications. The Pharmacy at Gloucester Mathews Free Clinic operated with volunteers until early-2003, at which point the growing patient demand and need for a more consistent presence in the Pharmacy prompted the hiring of the first paid part-time Pharmacist.
BEGINNINGS OF A DENTAL PROGRAM
2003 brought a group of Clinic partners together to address the fact that although able to treat patients medically, there was no means by which to address dental needs. Recognizing that many illnesses are a result of poor oral hygiene and subsequent oral decay and infection, the group, dubbed “The Dental Committee”, strived to gain the necessary funding to offer access to dental treatments as well as securing state of the art dental equipment.
In 2005, the Clinic became a partner with the Greater Virginia Peninsula Consortium of Free Clinics, which works with the Lackey Free Clinic in Yorktown, H.E.L.P. Free Clinic in Hampton, and Peninsula Christian Free Clinic in Newport News.
With the number of patient appointment requests nearly doubling the availability of the Clinic by 2007, the Board took to take action – including applying for and received a $78,000 grant from the Williamsburg Heath Foundation that allowed the hiring of a part time Physician Assistant under the supervision the Medical Director. This hiring opened the Clinic to support day-time patient appointments. To date, this action has been one of the most impactful and significant decisions made to further how the Clinic operates and treats patients.
After +16-years at the Gloucester Point facility, the Clinic looked to find a larger, more modern facility that could support its continuously growing patient population as well as the expanding programs offered. In 2014, the Clinic moved to its current 9,000sq-ft location, as well as updated its name from "Free Clinic" to "Care Clinic."
Today, the Gloucester Mathews Care Clinic continues to build on its humble beginnings and remains passionate to its commitment to the communities of Gloucester and Mathews Counties having access to basic healthcare and
The mission of the Gloucester Mathews Care Clinic is to provide community-based healthcare for the residents of Gloucester and Mathews Counties who lack health insurance. We achieve this though the efforts of volunteers, paid professionals and support staff, and contributions from members of the community who share our values and concern.
Gloucester Mathews Care Clinic is committed to the communities of Gloucester and Mathews Counties
having access to basic healthcare and education services.
our BOARD OF directors:
Melanie Rapp Beale
Steven Griswold, MD
EX-OFFICIO BOARD MEMBERS:
Nancy H. Dykeman
Wayne J. Reynolds, DO
Chuck R. Harris, Jr., DDS
Sven L. vanBaars
Carl 'Woody' Hobbs, III
Louise D. Theberge
Board of Director & Officers Photo credit to Linda Tjossem.