CANA — Everhart Primary Health Care (EPHC) has announced its fourth Annual FUNds Day and Stay Smart Health Fair will be held Oct. 22 at the practice on 1236 Bear Trail in Cana. It’s also calling on residents to urge legislators to insure the practice’s continuing operation.
“Virginia is one of only 12 states remaining with a restrictive practice environment, which is prohibiting NPs from practicing to the full extent of their education and training, as well as limiting access to care,” said Cindy Fagan, government affairs chair of the Virginia Council of Nurse Practitioners, the statewide association representing more than 7,000 NPs across the Commonwealth of Virginia. “Full practice authority can only be granted through legislation approved by the Virginia General Assembly. It is not just a focus for nurse practitioners in rural areas, but in all parts of Virginia. It is critically important for patients and those in the community to reach out to their legislators and ask them to support legislation that grants NPs full practice authority. It could end up saving primary care practices like the one Dee and Carole Everhart run.”
Carole Everhart said State law stipulates services to patients can be limited if there is not a physician available to act on the advanced practice nurse’s team and in small rural areas. This can be a problem because general practitioners are an increasingly scarce resource in many areas because most medical students are choosing to be specialists.
“I understand where they (the Legislature) are coming from,” said Carole Everhart. “But, with me having 25 years and my mom having 40 years as nurse practitioners, we feel comfortable knowing our limits. I feel comfortable knowing what my limits are and I am very happy to tell patients. Patients appreciate this. We are nurses not physicians. We approach our patients’ problems with a more holistic health aspect.”
EPHC’s current collaborating physician is Dr. Barry Mayberry, who looks to retire in two years. When that day comes, the Clinic (which has charts for more than 4,000 patients on its rolls) will have 60 days to retain another, affordable doctor for their team, or their patients could be without health care.
This becomes critical to the thousands who depend on the Clinic for health care. One of the most unique aspects of ECPH is the mother and daughter team do not accept third-party payers which allows them to provide quality healthcare at a low cost to patients. Essentially, a procedure which would normally cost hundreds of dollars against a patient’s insurance is paid out-of-pocket but for a fraction of the cost.
“I do what I do because I love people. I love the way we’re set up here. Patients can come in and say, ‘Can we talk for a few minutes?’ If I close they won’t have anybody,” said Everhart. “That would break my heart. I’ve known the child, their mother, their grandmother. Every one of our patients is unique. They are very much a part of me. They’re very special people.”
Everhart said EPHC enjoys a good working relationship with area hospitals, specialists and pharmacists. This approach also allows them flexibility of hours in addition to affordability. It’s a straightforward relationship familiar to rural Virginians (and small businesses) where those served are neighbors.
The 5K event includes a “Stay Smart Health Fair” and a silent auction. Early registration for the 5K run is $30 with registration closing on Oct. 16. Entry forms and sponsorship forms are available online at www.everhartphc.com., the Clinic’s Facebook page, or by calling 276-755-2203.
There is no fee for the one mile fun run/walk or the fair although donations are accepted. (All donations are tax deductible. EPHC is a non-profit, 501C3 organization.) According to Everhart, fair activities include blood pressure checks, blood sugar checks, chair massages, children’s activities, aroma therapy and yoga warm-ups. No pets are allowed at the event.
Funds Day will be held rain or shine. Packet pick up for the 5K begins at 9 a.m. with a 10 a.m. starting time. The Fun Run/Walk is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. Prizes for the 5K will go to first, second and third overall male and female participants, oldest and youngest participant and first, second and third place awards will be given in each age group. Proceeds will be used to purchase equipment and to offset operational costs at the clinic to keep patient costs as low as possible.
David Broyles may be reached at 276-779-4013 or on Twitter@CarrollNewsDave.