BRATTLEBORO—After being closed for 18 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Brattleboro Walk-In Clinic will reopen Tuesday, Nov. 9.
“We’re really excited about it,” said clinic Vice President Adrian Segar.
In 2020, “we had to close,” he said. “We just felt that particularly with volunteer providers it wasn’t safe to open the clinic at that time.”
“We’re not a hospital building and don’t have the resources to do the kind of safety checks and so on that hospitals did in the thick of the pandemic,” Segar explained.
Now, he said, the clinic feels it can reopen safely.
“Our medical providers made that decision, and we’re going to see how it goes,” Segar said. “It’s something that really fills a gap in the medical needs of the community, differently than before the Affordable Care Act, but even then, there are people who don’t have health care.”
In addition, the clinic, at 191 Clark Ave., has purchased the building, which it has been renting for a couple of years.
The building’s owner, Dr. John Daly, who had a practice there, accepted the clinic’s offer of $400,000, and the deal closed Oct. 1.
How did the clinic raise such a sum?
“We’ve been around a long time, and we’ve been fundraising every year for years and building an endowment,” said Segar. “We only spent the income from the endowment, so we were able to pay outright and still have some endowment left.”
The clinic has been able to pay about $30,000 in annual operating expenses with donations from individuals and private, community, and religious organizations.
In addition, while the clinic’s policy is not to charge patients for care, those receiving it are asked to donate whatever they are able at the time of service. Each visit costs the clinic approximately $140.
Donations can be placed in the box provided by the receptionist. Those unable to make any donation still receive the same care.
Clinicians also note that some folks use the facility not out of financial concern, but for the convenience of evening hours or because they are traveling through town, have just moved to town, or cannot find a doctor. Those clients are asked to make donations to help others who are not financially able to do so.
Started in 1993 by a small group of concerned community members to provide primary medical care, the nonprofit operates with a pool of all-volunteer physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, and receptionists.
Administrators also hope to add to the three tenants currently in the building by renting the medical suite.
“It’s a beautiful medical office, and we’re looking for someone to rent it,” said Segar of the three exam rooms, doctor’s office, and reception space. “We’d love to talk with medical providers who are interested, subject to our being able to use it.”
The clinic offers primary medical care for patients ages 18 to 64 in the community who do not have health insurance or who cannot afford their high deductibles or co-insurance. It will be open from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays for those who walk in, on a first-come, first-served basis.
In 2018, the clinic served 301 clients. During the closure due to the pandemic, staff members stayed in touch with regular clients by phone and email and made sure that if an issue arose it would be addressed.
For more information, call 802-251-8484 or visit brattleborowalkinclinic.org.