The opening of a new clinic in Vaiden and acquisition of another in Winona is giving residents in those communities much-needed primary care from University of Mississippi Medical Center physicians, nurses and nurse practitioners.
UMMC began operating the Family Medicine Clinic on North Applegate Street in Winona Sept. 1 after Grenada Family Medical Group staff there became employees of UMMC's Grenada hospital campus. The UMMC Family Medicine Clinic on Magnolia Street in Vaiden opened Oct. 5. Both offer not just primary care, but consultations with a selection of specialists practicing on the UMMC Grenada and Jackson campuses.
The Vaiden clinic, in Carroll County, and the Winona clinic, in Montgomery County, join UMMC's primary care clinic in West, which is located in Holmes County.
“We saw a great opportunity to continue to provide the same services and offer more at the Winona clinic,” said Claudette Hathcock, director of human resources at UMMC Grenada and UMMC Holmes County in Lexington.
“This will give the community another avenue to obtain primary care in their own community,” Dewery Montgomery, director of ambulatory operations for the Grenada and Lexington hospitals, said of the Winona clinic. “We plan to expand the clinic to five days a week and add pediatrics and OB/GYN one day a week in the future”
UMMC Family Medicine Clinic in Winona is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. The Vaiden clinic operates Monday through Wednesday from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., and the West clinic is open 8 a.m.-noon on Thursdays.
UMMC Holmes County staff including CEO David Putt, Mike Kelly, Dewery Montgomery and Jolynn White joined Kevin Cook, CEO of University Hospitals and Health System, and Vaiden-area business and government leaders for the opening of UMMC's Vaiden clinic. (Photo: Tish Butts/The Conservative)
Jolynn White, a University of Mississippi Medical Center nurse practitioner, and licensed practical nurse Donnie Washington are all the residents of West have in the way of primary health care. The two also will staff the Vaiden clinic.
“There's no other health-care provider in Vaiden,” Hathcock said. “Jolynn will be a great asset to Vaiden, and people who can't get in to see her in West can come to Vaiden.”
Seeing patients at the Winona clinic are three longtime physicians, all University of Mississippi Medical Center graduates, who have been at that facility for many years. Dr. Richard Reid, Dr. Todd Lee and Dr. Ralph Armstrong are family practitioners and care for both adult and pediatric patients.
“We will now be in more insurance networks because of UMMC,” Reid said. “We'd love to see the clinic grow more. We are accepting new patients. We do take walk-ins, but it's usually by appointment.
“We try to have people in and out the door in less than an hour. That's why people like to see us,” Reid said. “We want to get you an appointment to see us in the next 24 hours.”
Many of his patients, Reid said, have been regulars at the clinic since 1993. “You take care of the entire family,” he said. “We don't seen as many kids as we used to. It's mostly older children and adolescents in addition to our adult practice.
White's focus for the past two decades has been delivering front-line care in rural areas to patients who often live in poverty, struggle with transportation, and battle chronic conditions like diabetes, obesity and hypertension.
A big part of her focus, White said, is wellness. “We're talking about healthy foods, healthy sleep patterns and the importance of playtime for children and moving about,” she said. “We're on the front lines for diabetes, hypertension and obesity. Hopefully, we can change people's mentality toward wellness.”
She's especially heartened by telehealth bringing specialty care to her patients. They can tap into telehealth offerings at the Lexington hospital that include dermatology and geriatrics, White said.
Such access to care means the world to Kelvin Blackmon, 52, a West resident for almost three decades.
White “is great. She's the light of my life, because I've been really sick,” said Blackmon, who copes with diabetes and high blood pressure. “If not for the clinic, I'd have to drive to Kosciusko or Grenada.”
White plans to see up to 20 patients a day - possibly more -- in the new Vaiden clinic, where appointments are strongly encouraged but walk-ins also will be seen. “I know that's a lot, but they are such wonderful people. I believe that with all my heart. That's why I'm here,” White said.
“It's a challenge. There are days when I wonder if I've made a difference, but everyone assures me I have.”