By Nick Blank [email protected]
ORANGE PARK – The Way Free Medical Clinic and Clay County Dental Care are joining forces in a new location on College Drive.
Both organizations provide free services and serve uninsured residents of Clay County. At a press conference and inauguration on Wednesday afternoon, the two signed a memorandum of understanding. The 5,000 square foot building will eventually be expanded to 7,500 square feet to accommodate dental services.
According to the organization, the coordinated care program is expected to double the free admission of patients to clinics within three years of its operation. Way Free CEO Don Fann said the integrated dental and medical facility was unprecedented. He called it the equivalent of the Holy Grail of similar facilities.
“You go left and there’s dental services,” Fann said. “Going to the right, there is the medical clinic.”
Fann said the services are vital for uninsured patients, who otherwise would not have a pathway to care. He said more potential patients would be accessible with the change of location.
“I know we can double the number we serve over the next three years. The current population lives in circles around the clinic in Green Cove Springs,” Fann said. “Establishing a clinic in the northern part of Clay County will geographically attract more patients.”
The campaign to redevelop the site and launch the Expanding Capacity to Care initiative raised $1 million of its goal of $1.5 million, the total cost of renovating the property.
“The community has been overwhelmingly supportive of this project, as evidenced by their ability to raise $1 million during the silent phase of the campaign,” Fann said. “I am confident that we will be able to achieve our goal. It’s really the community that made this possible.
The 302 College Dr. Clinic is the launch site for the ClayPASS Coordinated Medical Care Program, which connects uninsured Clay County residents to appropriate care. Fann said he hopes the emerging care coordination system will be a model for other counties.
“This will essentially allow uninsured patients to receive the appropriate care,” Fann said.
The move comes as the county pushes to make College Drive a hub of culture, resources and care. An important part of the College Drive initiative is establishing a corridor for nonprofit organizations.
Fann said he was involved in the initiative from the start and the clinic has always supported College Drive’s success. Mercy Support Services, Pace Center for Girls are among the nonprofits that have moved to the road that connects Blanding Boulevard to County Road 220.
“The initiative will establish College Drive as a cultural, social and community service destination for Clay County,” Fann said.
“We are already seeing evidence of this with the influx of established and new nonprofits into this corridor as well as county implementation departments, especially among these nonprofit community services and veterans affairs. .”
More information is available at thewayclinic.org.