St. Luke Community Clinic began serving the uninsured, low-income residents of Warren County, VA, in 1996. The original Board of Directors and the clinic were incorporated on June 26, 1996. St. Luke became and remains a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization. The basement of Marlow Heights Baptist Church served as the clinic’s first home. The first clinic was offered on November 7, 1996 with ten patients being served that evening. Initially the clinic was an all volunteer program with no paid staff. Its doors were open one evening per month. Donations were its only source of revenue.
It soon became clear that Warren County, VA, needed more services than a once-a-month clinic or, for that matter, a once-a-week clinic would allow. Grants were secured to hire nurse practitioners and to provide a woman’s health clinic. A small administrative staff also was hired to manage the day-to-day affairs of the clinic to allow it to run efficiently. The clinic soon outgrew the church and moved to the former Front Royal Family Practice Building in 1999. Health care providers and the hospital in the community came forward to offer services such as free basic lab work, x-rays and specialty care. Volunteers remained a vital ingredient to St. Luke’s operation because there simply was not enough money to maintain more than a very small staff. Donations continued to be a major source of operating funds. The clinic started operating four days per week.
In 2003 St. Luke Community Clinic again moved to a bigger facility, this time to the former Royal Haven Rest Home. The clinic made a service commitment to the community when a mortgage was obtained on the building.
The need for care steadily has increased. In the 2009 calendar year, 1,415 unduplicated patients were seen for a total of 2,848 visits. The recession has made the need greater. In 2009 the number of new patients coming for service rose 35% over 2008.
Health care reform, as passed via the Affordable Care Act, may make things better for many, but to date St. Luke has detected only a slight change for the population it serves. St. Luke Community Clinic may have to change its way of operating as health care reform unfolds, but the clinic is committed to serving Warren County, VA, in the best manner possible.