Vermilion medical clinic closes

DANVILLE — Vermilion County Health Care, a medical clinic that treated children and adults in Danville, is closed.

The clinic's governing board made the decision to close it last month, said Julie Holycross, a physician's assistant at the clinic.

Holycross was also the founder of American Family Health Care, a medical practice that operated at the same location at 715 W. Fairchild St., with Dr. David Barnes overseeing the practice.

The clinic changed its name and became a not-for-profit organization last spring.

Both Holycross and Barnes declined to discuss the closing, but Holycross did say the clinic saw about 1,800 adults and children.

Thomas Pollock, chairman of the clinic's board, said Vermilion County Health Care was in the process of becoming a type of federally qualified health center called a FQHC look-alike.

He declined to discuss reasons for closing the clinic but implied problems had developed within it that made the board's decision necessary.

Federally qualified health centers are not-for-profit clinics that serve the needy and medically underserved, and FQHC look-alikes must meet the same requirements but don't receive all the same benefits, according to the Health Resources and Services Administration, which administers the FQHC program.

HRSA spokesman Richard Olague said the agency doesn't comment on whether an organization has submitted or withdrawn an application.

Pollock, who is also executive director of Crosspoint Human Services in Danville, said he sees people every day who would have benefitted from having a federally qualified health center in the local community.

"I assure you, I am broken-hearted," he said about the decision to close the clinic.

On the health center's website is information about Vermilion County's underserved patients in need of more medical services, the clinic's expansion plans and information about how to donate.

Pollock said he first got involved with the clinic last year as a volunteer after Holycross had been unsuccessful in obtaining rural health clinic status and began attempting to make it a federally qualified health center.

"We were finally finished in February of this year," he said.

But on May 9, Pollock said, the clinic's board terminated three employees in anticipation of closing the facility.

A legal ad was run about the closing in Danville, Pollock said. There was a notice on the Crosspoint website referring patients to both Holycross and Barnes for their medical records.

But Holycross said she doesn't have access to the records.

"I'm no longer there, and I can't really get information because I don't work for them any more," she said.

Pollock said he doesn't have access to the records, and he doesn't know whether patients have been notified by Barnes or Holycross that the practice is closed.

Patients calling the clinic as of late Monday afternoon didn't get a recorded message offering information about the closing or where to go for care. There was a recorded message stating the party the caller is trying to reach is not accepting calls at that number.

Sue Hofer, spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, said anyone can file a complaint against a medical office or provider and all complaints are investigated.

Complaints can be filed online.

Comments

News-Gazette.com embraces discussion of both community and world issues. We welcome you to contribute your ideas, opinions and comments, but we ask that you avoid personal attacks, vulgarity and hate speech. We reserve the right to remove any comment at our discretion, and we will block repeat offenders' accounts. To post comments, you must first be a registered user, and your username will appear with any comment you post. Happy posting.

Login or register to post comments