Tri-Area Community Health Center (TACH) opened its new doors to patients Monday in Ferrum.
“It’s kind of a dream,” said Pat Moles, chief operating officer for TACH. “We’ve been planning this building for years, pretty much since we have been in Ferrum because we were in a temporary space. It’s the culmination of a dream.”
For the past 13 years, TACH was leasing space in the basement of the chapel on Ferrum College’s campus. The new building is on Ferrum Mountain Road.
The medical center quadrupled in size from 3,000 square feet to 17,000 square feet, according to office manager Martha Puckett.
The new facility touts 15 patient rooms, an increase from eight, plus two treatment rooms for minor procedures such as sutures or mole removal, as well as X-ray capabilities and a large pharmacy with a drive-through. The closest pharmacy is 10 miles north on Virginia 40 in Rocky Mount.
There is also room for the behavioral health program to grow in the future.
“Everyone at Tri-Area is excited to have the new building open for patients and community members,” said James Werth Jr., chief executive officer. “The larger clinic and pharmacy space will allow us to see more people and provide more services. The staff here are committed to making a positive difference in people’s lives. We are looking forward to continuing to serve Ferrum, Franklin County and surrounding communities for decades to come.”
Puckett said the building was in need of level parking and automatic doors to help those with mobility challenges or parents pushing strollers easier access to the building. The new building has both.
With the increased number of exam rooms, Puckett said the staff is able to have patients ready for providers, which improves wait times.
“We’re just so happy to be here and to be able to serve the community,” Puckett said. “A lot of time and thought went into the new facility. It’s been just great to hear what the patients have said this morning. I heard one woman say it took her breath; they have been waiting a long time and so have we.”
Beth Cannaday, a patient who visited Monday, said the new clinic was “great” and that it was “going to take a little getting used to” now that the building is so large.
The $6 million clinic was funded partially by a $1 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Health Resources and Services Administration under the Health Infrastructure Investment Program. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development office is providing long-term financing for the remaining balance.
The health center accepts private insurance, works with the uninsured by charging on a sliding scale and accepts Medicaid and Medicare patients. The center offers general, behavioral and specialty medical care for all ages.
TACH also provides health services for students at Ferrum College.
With additional offices in Floyd and Laurel Fork, TACH focuses on health care for rural communities of Central and Southwest Virginia, including Carroll, Floyd, Franklin, and Patrick counties. Between the three clinics, TACH treats around 10,000 patients a year, according to Moles.
TACH has been around for 30 years and is a federally qualified health center funded in part by HHS.
For more information, visit triareahealth.org.