Clinic adds new board members, increases patient numbers, prepares for expansion

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May 16, 2023

The Clinic Board of Directors includes (l-r) Jean Nelson, CEO; Helen Palmer; Bill Lee, Keith Fontenot; Bill Arnold, secretary; Broke Graham, treasurer; Vick Kinsel, MD; Page Henley, vice chair, and G. Scott Graham, board chair. Greg Lockhart, MD, is not pictured.


The Northern Neck – Middlesex Free Health Clinic’s Board of Directors welcomed two new members at their meeting April 19.

Keith Fontenot of White Stone and Helen Palmer of Lancaster join the Board as the Clinic continues building and expanding its medical, dental, and pharmaceutical services to the community. During 2022 the Clinic served 1,883 unduplicated individuals – 255 more than the previous year – while continuing its Covid vaccination clinics and school physicals for everyone in the community.

The Clinic is adding new patients almost daily, as the demand for services only continues to grow. As a “hybrid” Clinic, both Medicaid recipients and those who are un-and under-insured are eligible, provided incomes are at or below 250% of the federal poverty level for the Medical Clinic and 300% for the Dental Clinic. With patients transitioning in and out of Medicaid, volunteers help with data entry and tracking to assure that all rules and regulations are properly followed.

The Board will be working to assimilate more volunteers, find additional providers, revise strategic planning, and modernize fund-raising efforts. Clinic operations depend on contributions from individuals, churches, and businesses in the community as well as from the counties served, grants, modest patient fees for dental visits, and some dental Medicaid reimbursements. The Clinic’s current budget (fiscal year 2022-23) totals $1,877,851. Thanks to donors and volunteers, the budget generates three or four times that amount in services rendered each year. It is anticipated that the 2023-24 budget will be at or about $2 million, nearly all from public contributions.

Board members work with smaller projects as well. One is the Food Pantry that was placed in the Clinic lobby several years ago by Bill Westbrook. The pantry is home to non-perishable food items and is continually re-stocked by board members, staff, volunteers, patients, and supporters. The pantry is heavily used, especially as food prices have risen, and all gifts to it are welcome.

High patient numbers in 2022

The Medical Clinic, currently with a full-time Nurse Practitioner, two physicians, support staff, and volunteer providers and administrators will soon complete its transition to electronic health records. The Medical Clinic saw 819 individuals last year, hosted 4,084 visits, and provided referrals, CT scans, x-rays, mammograms, and labs.

The Dental Clinic, which operates through a partnership with the VCU School of Dentistry, saw 1,316 individuals in 2022 (528 of them new), hosted 3,332 visits, and performed 7,612 procedures valued at $1,065,995. Final-year dental students are overseen by the staff dentist during their rotations, and work with the dental coordinator and two dental assistants.

The Pharmacy filled 13,657 prescriptions valued at $3,383,938 in 2022. Staffed by two pharmacists, a coordinator, and two pharmacy technicians, medicines are obtained for free or at reduced costs and distributed to un-insured residents only; since the Clinic is a hybrid model serving Medicaid recipients as well as the un- and under-insured, personnel evaluate each prescription to assure that Medicaid recipients have their scripts filled at outside pharmacies.

New members

Keith Fontenot of White Stone has extensive experience in the health sector. He was Associate Director for Health with the Office of Management and Budget and Office of the President from 2009-2013, and since then has been a fellow with the Brookings Institution, a Managing Director with Hooper Lundy & Bookman, a consultant on public policy strategies, and Executive Vice President with America’s Health Insurance Plans. Earlier, with the Office of Management and Budget, his roles included Budget Examiner, Senior Examiner, Chief of the Income Maintenance Branch, and Chief of the Health Financing Branch. He also has worked with the Social Security Administration and the Congressional Budget Office.

Helen Palmer of Lancaster is Director of the Industrial-Organizational Psychology team at ACT, Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to education and workplace success. She has served as a project manager and lead consultant for a number of projects, including development and validation of biodata instruments, validation of measurement tools for personal selection purposes, and job analyses the Position Analysis Questionnaire. She is a member of the American Psychological Association, Society for Human Resource Management, and Society for Industrial-Organizational Psychology.

Funding needs

With two months remaining in the current fiscal year, the Clinic still needs to raise about $400,000 to meet its budget. For more information on Clinic services or how to contribute or volunteer, visit, phone 804-435-0575, or address correspondence to P.O. Box 1694, Kilmarnock, 22482.