VAFCC is excited to present the 2018 Champions of Health Care Awards, an opportunity to honor and recognize individuals and organizations that have made a real difference in Virginia’s health safety net. These awards are meant to recognize leaders in the community who make a true impact on the health and quality of life in Virginia. These remarkable individuals and entities have demonstrated significant contribution, support, and commitment to free clinics and were publicly recognized at VAFCC’s 2018 Annual Conference during the 25th Anniversary Banquet.
Jen Stowers, Free Clinic of Central Virginia
Jen Stowers is the Vice President of Nursing at Centra Medical Group and the Chief Care Coordination Office with Centra Health. She’s also a board member of the Free Clinic of Central Virginia as well as the founder and President of the Community Access Network. As such, she formed the nexus of critical partnerships – her positions with Centra Health, the free clinic, and Community Access Network – which allowed her to create a physical infrastructure and process design that has improved health outcomes for low-income, under- and uninsured residents of Central Virginia. Focused on improving access to quality healthcare for high utilizers of emergency departments, individuals who lack insurance or are unable to pay for medical care, and other targeted groups that struggle with care access, Jen is responsible for designing, planning, executing, and managing patient access and care solutions that resulted in the Community Health Center.
Inspired by her time as an emergency room nurse, Jen shares, “I am most proud of being able to lead change and motivate movement to look at how we take care of people differently. I was able to surround myself with like minded-people and get $11 million to create a clinic that is addressing all the determinants of health. I never took no for an answer and as a result, the clinic opened its doors in January of 2018.” Begun in 2014, her work culminated with the creation of an innovative primary care model and the opening of the Community Health Center, a collective impact effort that houses the free clinic, a federally qualified health care center, an onsite pharmacy, a super-utilizer clinic and a universal intake center for human and social service agencies throughout the region. This innovative and one-of-a-kind collaborative exists to provide access to remarkable, quality and compassionate healthcare to anyone in need, regardless of age, income or insurance.
Without Jen's vision, leadership, and involvement, the Community Health Center, would not exist – and thousands of uninsured and under-insured patients would go without access to services. While it is only its first year, the clinic has an average daily visit volume of 70+ patients (many of which would have had to seek care in an emergency room setting in the past). As well, the Free Clinic of Central Virginia is in a much strong and well-prepared position as we move forward in the uncertain, changing healthcare landscape as a result of Medicaid expansion.
Administrative Champion presented by the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association:
Wendy Edwards, Fauquier Free Clinic
Wendy Edwards is a CPA partner at Scheulen, Patchett & Edwards and longtime volunteer at the Fauquier Free Clinic, doing everything from accounting services to leading the Finance Committee to preparing tax returns and more! She has reconciled hundreds of bank statements, written thousands of checks, completed payroll tax statements, and advised the Board of Directors regarding investing, spending, and financial control policies. Her work is, simply put, flawless. Every bill is paid, every audit is clean, every tax return is submitted early, and every paycheck is accurate. Through her continued leadership and sound financial management, the Fauquier Free Clinic has been able to provide a wide variety of services for patients while also evolving over the past 25 years with the responsible growth required to continually meet community needs.
In 2013 the Fauquier Free Clinic embarked on an ambitious capital campaign to enable a move into larger, renovated space allowing for medical, dental, and mental health care “Under One Roof.” Wendy, who had already completed her term on the Board of Directors, was called upon once again. Knowing that the clinic was starting its largest fundraising effort ever with more than $1.5 million in gifts and pledges needed, Wendy stepped up to serve an additional six-year term. She volunteered to manage the pledges, accounting, auditing, and investment activities associated with the campaign, a decision she made without a moment's hesitation. Clinic patients now enjoy health care in a modern, well-equipped, clean and efficient setting – with much of the campaign’s success attributed to her personal efforts.
Wendy Edwards provides her support to her local community quietly and without fanfare or recognition – and proves that professionals outside the health care industry can have a large impact on the operations, success, and effectiveness of free and charitable clinics. Wendy has shaped every financial policy and led every major financial decision over the past 25 years – facilitating world-class financial conditions that enable the Fauquier Free Clinic to thrive.
Clinical Champion presented by the Medical Society of Virginia:
Pamela Witt, Western Tidewater Free Clinic
Pamela Witt, RN, BSN is the Director of Clinical Services at Western Tidewater Free Clinic (WTFC) where she oversees all clinical operations and direct patient care. Over her 11 year tenure with the clinic, she has expanded and sustained vital services including medication assistance and dental programs. Her competent and compassionate care serves as an example to all. Indeed, Pam’s passion and belief that everyone deserves access to healthcare have always guided her throughout her career, and for the past 11 years, her clinical skills, caring, and commitment have greatly benefited WTFC -- and more importantly its vulnerable patient population. She works tirelessly to create a medical home for every single patient and as a result thousands of patient lives have not only been changed by her work, many have been saved as a result of her dedication.
Behavioral Health Champion presented by Magellan Complete Care:
Lauren McCauley, Sinclair Health Clinic
Lauren McCauley is Clinician and Resident in Counseling at Sinclair Health Clinic. Her practice as a clinician includes counseling for substance abuse, behavioral health disorders and collaboration with the Community Health Worker team to provide support to the most vulnerable patients. The addition of Lauren to Sinclair’s team in the summer of 2017 provided a greater level of care and expertise to their counseling and therapy – leading to marked improvements in patient health outcomes. Lauren’s background in crisis therapy has also proven invaluable when acute issues arise (quite frequently) at the clinic.
A servant of the community who strives to ensure healthier living for all (regardless of income), she volunteers her time in case management for the local women’s mission, organizes case management sessions with area agencies to provide the best possible care to shared patients, volunteers at health fairs and is a wonderful ambassador for the clinic. Most notable, Lauren has gone above and beyond to initiate and drive a collaborative project between the clinic and several other human services agency to fill gaps in service and improve care coordination for patients. Highly successful, this project has been featured locally by the media. A patient-focused, collaborative, caring, and hardworking individual, Lauren will find solutions for her patients and support her colleagues to do the same; oftentimes when no easy solution exists.
Pharmaceutical Champion presented by Rx Outreach:
Eugene Triplett, Free Clinic of Culpeper
Eugene Triplett is the Pharmacist in Charge at the Free Clinic of Culpeper where he also was a member of the board of directors from 2009 through 2017 – serving on the Clinical Services Committee.For the past ten years, despite an extremely demanding schedule operating his own independent pharmacy, small farm, and a recently completed term on the Culpeper Regional Hospital Board, Eugene has selflessly provided the clinic countless hours of support filling patient prescriptions, streamlining pharmacy operations, and upgrading clinic pharmacy software and technology. A loyal and valued clinical member, Eugene brings professionalism, competency, and passion to the successful functioning of the clinic and his dedication to the mission is clearly evident in the improved health of the patients served.
Dental Champion presented by DentaQuest
David Crouse, Park Place Dental
Our Dental Champion this year is Dr. David Crouse, a retired general dentist and past faculty member at both Old Dominion University School of Dental Hygiene and Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry. His work with Park Place Dental and Chesapeake Cares involved both seeing patients and overseeing a variety of dental students. He also volunteered with numerous other charities and service organizations including Mission of Mercy Project (MOM), Pankey Dental Access Day (DAD), Access Partnership, and on the Advisory Board for the Oral Health Improvement Coalition of South Hampton Roads (OHIC).
Dr. Crouse was a volunteer for many years with area clinics, treating underserved patients and giving endless hours of his time in the capacity of dentist as well as board member, teacher and mentor. He participated in nearly every local dental outreach event and was always willing to serve where needed – usually the last to leave and often outworking the younger volunteers.
Diagnosed with advanced neuroendocrine cancer, Dr. Crouse passed away on September 2. In an interview days before his passing Dr. Crouse shared that his volunteer work in the dental community – of being able to relieve pain or restoring a smile for someone who couldn’t afford it – kept him going and brought him such joy.
Funding Champion presented by Mutual of America:
Ann Quinn, Gloucester Mathews Care Clinic
Ann Quinn is a long time board member, donor and advocate of the Gloucester Mathews Care Clinic. Involved since the very beginning in 1998 when the clinic opened, Ann’s commitment, dedication and passion for the mission is tireless. A retired social worker, she channels her passion for helping others into advancing the clinic’s mission -- and has never looked back. Instrumental in securing financial resources and active in all fundraising events, she helped run the capital campaign that enabled the clinic to purchase its current location and expand its services to include dental care.
Additionally, through her leadership and involvement, the clinic has grown from a small volunteer-based operation to a sophisticated healthcare operation with a $1 million budget operating with 19 paid staff members and over 200 volunteers – allowing Gloucester Mathews to serve 1,007 patients in 2017.
Corporate Champion presented by Kaiser Permanente:
Kaléo, Bradley Free Clinic
Kaléo is a Richmond-based pharmaceutical company that has generously donated over $1 million worth of product in the past two years to the free clinics of Virginia. Of import, this includes 300 EVZIO® naloxone auto-injectors, which when administered immediately, temporarily reverses the effects of opiates helping to prevent death by overdose in individuals. The donation of these life-saving devices at no charge to free clinics across the state has helped save countless lives in Virginia threatened by the current opioid crisis.
Declared a public health emergency in 2016, the opioid addiction crises has impacted many and this product donation, managed and distributed through a collaborative process between Kaléo, Rx Partnership, the Bradley Free Clinic in Roanoke, and the Virginia Association of Free & Charitable Clinics, has ensured access to these life-saving auto-injectors.
For questions or more information, please contact Rebecca Butler at 804.340.3434. Read the full press release here.