Dear Mr. Waddell,
I was deeply upset to be made aware of your comments in your local paper regarding our mobile dental clinic that has been visiting Clay County twice a month since July. Your paper said we showed up without any notification to clayonians and no one knew we were coming. It was a very negative portrayal of a total labor of love on my clinic’s part.
First, had you contacted me, Dr. Angie Settle, the CEO of the WV Health Right, the state’s largest and oldest Free & Charitable Clinic in Charleston, WV, that brings the mobile unit there totally free of charge to patients and at no cost to anyone in the county… you would have known the truth. We see hundreds of Clay County residents in our Charleston Clinic regularly for medical, dental, pharmaceutical, health education, behavioral health, and vision services. This mobile unit is yet another way we are trying to help Clay. Several of my staff members live in Clay and it has always been an area we care about in our state.
We came to Clay during the floods several times and gave hundreds of free tetanus shots and medications to anyone in need, again without zero money from anyone in your county or anywhere for that matter. We did it because it was the right thing to do and we care about our fellow West Virginians.
When I got the idea for the mobile dental clinic, I contacted Jerry Linkinoggor of the Clay County Commission to see if there was a need in Clay County. He spoke with local dentists who agreed it was needed. I then reached out to community care of WV and their CEO, Brock Malcolm, to partner with them in Clay on this program. We needed a place to park, power and internet access to run the unit on site. It also gave us a mechanism to recruit local patients.
We had a ribbon cutting ceremony in May, 2017, at our Charleston Clinic that was attended by Mr. Linkinoggor and Mr. Malcolm and it was covered by media from all over the state. Press releases were issued, newspaper articles and radio interviews were also done at that time. We got word out through the WV Rural Health Association and every other “free” way that we could because we have a zero budget for advertising.
The program is funded by 7 different grants that our clinic wrote to help cover the start up costs of the program to serve a total of 6 counties of our choosing, McDowell, Logan, Boone, Roane, Harrison and Clay. None of these grants are specific to Clay County but to the entire program.
Since July, we have had a full schedule working diligently every month with April Tanner, a nurse at Community Care of WV, and the schedule has stayed consistently tight and in fact, is booked out two months in advance. She distributed our flyers with all the information on it with how to get an appointment at the senior center, the health department and in their own clinic. To date, we have performed the following FREE services in Clay County in the 6 months we have been there: 88 Extractions, 56 restorations, 106 screenings, 35 cleanings, 16 surgical extractions, with a total of 303 procedures on 240 patients. The total value of this free care is over $85,000.
Rather than call us out for lack of coverage it would be nice if you used your pen and paper to help us spread the word about the program as a local reporter. We do not have the financial capability to do so ourselves. We spend every dime we get in providing care to those in need in Clay.
We have also added FREE Hepatitis and HIV testing once a month in Clay just to help identify anyone in need of care or those suffering from addiction with the hopes of getting them into recovery.
We serve over 24,000 patients a year and sincerely try our best to do all we can to help every West Virginian in need. A thank you is not required but it would be nice to avoid negative press for something intended to only help Clayonians in need.
If you would like to discuss the program and get details so that you share it with your readers to help them access care, feel free to contact me at 304-414-5931
Dr. Angie Settle,
DNP, APRN, BC, FNP
West Virginia Health Right, Inc.