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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
540-483-5113
Fax: 540-483-8013

Free Clinic looking for new executive director
Lois MacDonald will continue to be part of new center
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Lois MacDonald

Monday, February 11, 2013

By CHARLES BOOTHE - Staff Writer

Lois MacDonald has stepped down as executive director of The Bernard Healthcare Center (formerly known as Free Clinic of Franklin County).

"Lois has done an excellent job leading the center as well as helping to set the strategic direction for the future," said Rhonda Rousch, vice chairman of the center's board of directors. "The community, staff and board are sad to hear of Lois's decision but excited to learn that she is going to continue to help behind the scenes as the center broadens the services that are provided to the community."

"The coming months are going to be historic for the center in terms of growth, expansion of services, and moving into a new facility," MacDonald said. "In a word, it will be a stellar year and one which separates the old from the new."

MacDonald said the center will be ready for "health care reform" by being able to serve those with Medicaid and Medicare insurances, as well as those who are uninsured in the new health care environment of 2014.

"The Bernard Healthcare Center will strengthen Franklin County's healthcare safety net by growing forward," she said.

Rousch said the center is now in the process of searching for a new executive director.

The position directs the non-profit center in providing health care services to people in need within Franklin County. Responsibilities include administration, fundraising, community liaison, clinical effectiveness, staff management and financial oversight, Rousch said.

The need for services has been growing, and a grant from the Virginia Healthcare Foundation for a full-time physician assistant has enabled the center to increase patient visits by more than 300 percent within the past two years, from 800 to 2,600, Rousch said.

"This is a tough year for us financially, like it is with many non-profits," she said. "Our needs have increased and at the very same time, our contributions are down. The operational budget for this year (2012-2013) currently has an $80,000 shortfall."

"We really need help from the community to be able to make up such a deficit by the end of our fiscal year in August. Each dollar that is donated is able to provide $8.15 in services to patients in need within our community," she added.

The center, now located at 490 South Main Street in Rocky Mount, will be obtaining its own facility soon.

Guy and Betty Beatty of Northern Virginia donated $1 million in order to build a facility to accelerate the expansion of the free clinic into rural health.

"This will help our community in the transition of health reform," Rousch said. "However, this gifted money can only be used for the building. We are not allowed to use any of this money for operational expenses. Our short-term need is operational."

Rousch said the center has also expanded services by helping with "sick calls" at the county jail and visits at the women's shelter, both contributing to significant taxpayer savings.

"These are a couple of the creative ways we have been able to give back to the community while helping to save money at the same time," she said.

 
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