GALLIPOLIS — After being closed for the winter due to inclement weather and other factors, the French 500 Free Clinic is reopening twice a month beginning April 28.
Beginning in May, the clinic, located at 258 Pinecrest Drive in the former Hillcrest Clinic in Spring Valley, will have hours between 1-3 p.m. the second Thursday and the last Thursday of each month.
The free clinic formerly provided services to people who had little or no insurance in the tri-county area, which includes Gallia and Meigs counties in Ohio, and Mason County in West Virginia. The clinic will now see people from other areas of southeastern Ohio and West Virginia beyond the aforementioned counties.
In other words, there is no longer a geographical limit.
Physicians and staff will see patients who are more than 6 years old. No appointment is necessary and patients will be able to have a follow-up appointment in usually two weeks instead of one month.
“This care for our patients (free of charge) will be more effective and more convenient,” said Paul Sebastian, vice president of the French 500 Free Clinic.
The free clinic, Sebastian said, has eliminated age restrictions except for children younger than 6 who are covered by a county health department or other governmental agencies. Within the family income guidelines, eligible children under the age of 18 can obtain extensive coverage with no deductible or copay through the Department of Job and Family Services at 848 Third Ave., Gallipolis.
The clinic is staffed by experienced physicians and registered nurses with access to a chiropractor, a social worker and a counselor.
“These and other volunteers give their time freely to serve the community,” Sebastian said. “Our patients are examined and treated by licensed medical practitioners and professionals. Each doctor is assisted by a registered nurse.
When necessary, Sebastian said the medical facility and its physicians refer patients to an appropriate specialist. The clinic also assists patients with lab work and prescriptions.
It should be noted that the free clinic does not dispense pain medications.
“Being very dependent upon donations and volunteers, we are acutely aware of our responsibility to our donors in addition to our patients,” Sebastian said.
For more information, call 740-446-0021.