Help is Available

What do you do when you desperately need medical care but you’re uninsured and don’t have the money to pay for it? That dilemma, which faces hundreds of thousands of Virginians, played out in the waiting room at the Stony Creek Community Health Center.

One Tuesday night a heated discussion was heard coming from the lobby of the Stony Creek Community Health Center. A nurse came to see what the commotion was about and found a young woman, visibly unwell, protesting against her husband’s wishes to see a doctor. Although she was quite ill, she was refusing to get care because they didn’t have enough money to pay for it. Her husband was trying his best to convince her that they’d find some way to pay because she really needed to find out what was wrong with her and get help. The nurse came over to intervene as the woman was struggling to stand. In spite of her obvious pain, she proclaimed that she would not take charity.

The nurse assured the woman that she could help her. She explained that the center was not in the business of charity but they did help people pay for their care. “If you qualify, we have a grant that will pay for nearly your entire bill, like a big discount. Just fill out one form, show us documentation of your family’s income and give me a little time with a calculator. You can find out right now and see Dr. Azmi tonight.”

The woman’s husband handed over pay stubs and in a few minutes the couple learned that the doctor’s visit would only cost them $10. The woman started to cry stating, “I’ve been sick for so long but I wouldn’t come. We’re new around here. All this time, I’ve felt so bad. I could have seen your doctor…thank you so much.” The nurse introduced the new patient to Dr. Azmi to begin her diagnosis and treatment.

Stony Creek Community Health Center has been around for over 17 years and now holds evening clinics two times a week to accommodate their working patients. A grant from Virginia Health Care Foundation has allowed Stony Creek to take on a full time physician in order to serve more medically underserved individuals in Sussex County.