WVHC celebrates new transition
On Friday, the Wabash Valley Health Center (WVHC), a ministry of the Sisters of Providence, saw the efforts of months of preparation come to fruition as the center – also known as St. Ann Medical and Dental Services – officially transitioned to a Federally Qualified Health Center.
“Thank you to anyone who has played a role (in the ministry) for the last 17 years,” WVHC Chief Executive Officer Charlie Welker said in his opening remarks.
The center conducted a ribbon cutting ceremony Friday to mark the occasion. It is located at 1436 Locust St., Terre Haute, Ind.
The transition will now allow the center to expand its services to reach more people throughout the Wabash Valley while still providing quality health care.
Welker said the center will now operate under a “sliding fee scale,” but will not turn anyone in need away.
“The core of our mission for the last 17 years has not changed,” Welker said.
Sisters of Providence General Superior Sister Denise Wilkinson offered the invocation at Friday’s event.
“It’s a privilege to be here,” Sister Denise said.
WVHC board member Pete Ciancone echoed Sister Denise’s comments.
“I am humbled to be a part of this network,” Ciancone said. “We are who we serve. I’m elated.”
In November 2013, the center was awarded a grant from the United States Health and Human Services (HHS) in the amount of $778,750.
The grant, according to WVHC Chief Operating Officer Sister Lawrence Ann Liston, will help the center reach more people. In the past, the center has served uninsured adults ages 18-64. However, the grant and new qualifications will enable the center to serve children as well.
“We will start slowly with pediatrics,” Sister Lawrence Ann said, adding they initially plan to take children of current patients.
Sister Lawrence Ann said the center had approximately 15,000 visits in 2013. However, easing into the new transition, officials are projecting an increase of 3,000 visits, adding the center sees approximately 1,250 monthly visits.
WVHC – which boasts more than 200 volunteers – will also be hiring new staff because of the transition.
Its services include primary medical care, initial medical/dental assessment, pharmacy, dermatology, psychological counseling, physical therapy, podiatry services, optometry, chronic disease management and more.
Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett also spoke at the event, stating the center is a “blessing” for the people it serves.
“As God continues to bless this entity … let it continue to bless this community,” Bennett said.
The Wabash Valley Health Center was founded in 1997. It is a non-profit clinic that provides health care to the poor who also do not have access to health services.
Following the ceremony, staff members conducted tours for those interested. In addition, refreshments were served.
Current hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information, call 812-232-7447.
About the Sisters of Providence
The Sisters of Providence, a Congregation of nearly 250 women religious, with more than 280 Providence Associates, collaborate with others to create a more just and hope-filled world through prayer, education, service and advocacy. The Sisters of Providence have their motherhouse at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, located just northwest of downtown Terre Haute, Ind. Saint Mother Theodore Guerin founded the Sisters of Providence at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods in 1840. Today, Sisters of Providence minister in 13 states, the District of Columbia and Asia, through works of love, mercy and justice. More information about the Sisters of Providence and their ministries may be found at SistersofProvidence.org.