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PATHS to fill Healthcare on the Square building

SoVaNow.com / December 19, 2012
The vacant Healthcare on the Square complex in Boydton is getting a new tenant — the PATHS (Piedmont Access to Health Services Inc.) medical clinic.

PATHS executive director Kay Crane told members of Boydton Town Council Tuesday night that the healthcare provider is expanding downtown after finalizing negotiations with USDA to lease the building last occupied by Healthcare on the Square.

PATHS currently operates out of an office at 969 Madison St. in Boydton that once housed the medical practice of Willoughby Hundley. Willoughby is the brother of PATHS local physician Susan Hundley, M.D.

For now, PATHS has “a year’s lease with a three-year option, and a right of first refusal to purchase the site,” Crane told Council members. She added, “We will be moving in one program at a time. We want to be smart about our growth.”

By the first of the year, PATHS expects to reopen the fitness center in downtown Boydton. This spring — or earlier, if Crane can more quickly arrange funding — PATHS is bringing dentist David Eason back to Boydton. Eason is presently working out of the PATHS facility in Danville.

Crane said, “Once we got Dr. Eason over in Danville, it became obvious how great the demand was for more than just the medical facility. People are driving from Boydton to Danville for Dr. Eason.”

While Crane would like to have Eason back in Boydton by the first of the year, she said such a move is not yet financially feasible. PATHS needs additional grants or other financing to purchase equipment for the office, including dental chairs. When asked what happened to the equipment at the prior clinic, Eason said he believed it was sold to pay off debt obligations incurred by Healthcare on the Square, said Crane.

Crane said, “The final piece, for now, is to move the medical center back into the downtown location.” The larger space will allow PATHS to hire a second nurse practitioner to assist Dr. Susan Hundley. Crane said once the patient population can support a pharmacy, PATHS would consider reopening the shuttered clinic pharmacy.

PATHS first opened its federally-qualified medical facility in Boydton in April 2012 after Healthcare on the Square lost its federal funding.

The Boydton office is PATHS’ fourth site. Its other health centers — in Danville, Martinsville, and Chatham — have been providing access to health care since 2001 and operating similar federally qualified community health centers since 2004 in Southside Virginia.

PATHS is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide healthcare to all citizens in south-central Virginia regardless of ability to pay. It started in 2001 as a coordinated system of volunteer healthcare providers for the uninsured, known as Project Access of the Dan River Region. In 2007, PATHS expanded the Health Center of the Piedmont Program to include a third service location in Chatham, and it added a Community Dental Clinic at its Danville facility in February 2010.

The centerpiece of PATHS’ mission statement is the belief that everyone has the right to quality health care, regardless of whether they are insured or uninsured. Crane said as it continues to expand, PATHS will remain true to that belief.

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