“This is a wonderful day for West Terre Haute people,” Sister Dorothy Rasche said after helping turn ceremonial earth at the corner of Sixth Street and National Avenue. “Something that we’ve needed for a long time is medical care here so people don’t put off getting care and have to go to the emergency room. So this is a very important intermediate step for all of the residents here, and in fact, anybody on this side of the river.”
Valley Professionals Community Health Center will operate the health center, with opening planned for March 2022.
“There is so much pride in this community, and everybody comes together, and that’s what this whole project has been about,” said T.J. Warren, CEO of Valley Professionals.
The nearly 5,000 square foot building will feature several exam rooms, two behavioral health treatment rooms, a laboratory and a pharmacy. Services offered will include primary care, behavioral health, patient support services and drive-through pharmacy.
But the actual ground work on the project began years ago, with community members and the Connecting Link ministry of the Sisters of Providence raising funds and support for the project.
The community has no doctor’s office or pharmacy.
He credited Sister Dorothy with being the driving force behind the project, noting he was first contacted about it in August 2017.
“We may have been working on this project for five or six more years if it wasn’t for her, because she really gets things done,” Warren said of Rasche.
Warren also introduced nurse practitioner Michelle Miller, who recently signed with Valley Professionals to start at the clinic in 2022. The project improves access to comprehensive quality healthcare and aims to enhance the overall well-being of the community where 28 percent of residents live in poverty, 78 percent of West Vigo Elementary students receive free or reduced lunch, and 2,400 residents lack access to health care.
More than 6,000 patients will be served annually by 2022. The clinic will be located on property donated by Pat Minnis and family.
Warren said the community fundraising and grants have reached the $377,000 mark so far, including a $100,000 matching donation. Another $714,000 in federal COVID-19 funds for infrastructure was designated for the project. And $330,000 in other grants will be used for equipment and beds. More than $1.42 million has been raised to date, which is 95 percent of the project, Warren said.
Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at TribStarLisa.
Valley Professionals is a federally qualified health center providing primary care, behavioral health, dental and resource services with clinics in Montgomery, Parke, Vermillion and Vigo counties. For more information, go online to www.valleyprohealth.org. Donations to the West Terre Haute Clinic Community Project Fund can be made online through the Wabash Valley Community Foundation at wvcf.org/funds/wthclinic or online through Facebook at Valley Professionals Community Health Center.