Imagine being able to receive professional, quality healthcare without ever stepping foot into a doctor’s office. Thanks to telehealth, that dream has become a reality at Lackey Clinic. And with the opening of its new virtual urgent care program, the clinic is on its way to becoming a champion of telehealth in the region.
Serving community members in need
Lackey Clinic opened its doors in 1995 with only a handful of volunteers and a mission to provide holistic healthcare for economically disadvantaged community members. Since then, the clinic has grown to 30 full- and part-time staff who provide around-the-clock, comprehensive care. Patients have full access to mental, medical, dental and vision services at little to no cost to them.
At the Lackey Clinic, patient care extends beyond the walls of the clinic. It has agreements with local hospitals that cover patients who need extensive care. It also received $11 million in free drugs last year from major drug manufacturers like Merck, who are required by law to donate a certain percentage of their products to uninsured patients.
Not only is Lackey Clinic a clearinghouse for charity work, it’s also a teaching establishment. Many of its volunteers are local pre-med students from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg.
“They come and volunteer to be scribes because they need that in order to get into medical school,” said Larry Trumbore, CEO of Lackey Clinic.
Overcoming the odds
When COVID-19 forced Lackey Clinic to suspend in-person services, staff members were determined to continue providing care for patients.
“It was a crazy time, but I think our biggest focus was, ‘How do we keep our patients calm and healthy?’” said Amber Martens, director of eligibility and community outreach.
The clinic adopted a telehealth model, which allowed it to operate virtually. Volunteers called each patient to let them know they could participate in virtual appointments or have their medication mailed to them.
“It was just really calming for them to know that we were still going to take care of them,” said Martens.
The transition to virtual operations also expanded the reach of care. Lackey Clinic has two doctors that reside elsewhere in Virginia, but still care for patients based in Yorktown. Patients who typically faced barriers to healthcare access could now consult a physician at the click of a button.
“We learned that virtual visits helped people with social determinants of health,” said Martens. “They don’t need the transportation to get here, to come up with the cost of finding childcare or taking time off of work.”
Expanding virtual care
With the success of their telehealth program, Lackey Clinic realized that it could virtually help uninsured patients who needed immediate care. In March, it launched a virtual urgent care program led by Dr. Ralph Roberston, a volunteer medical provider at the clinic, to treat patients for non-life-threatening conditions.
The sign-up process is simple: patients visit Lackey Clinic’s website, provide their contact information, pay a $25 fee and pick their appointment time.
“You have the appointment, and four to five minutes later, the doctor will pop up on you screen and can prescribe you medication,” added Martens.
At the end of the visit, the physician notifies the patient of other services at Lackey Clinic that they may qualify for. Around 50% of virtual urgent care patients become full clinic patients.
The program has received high praise from patients, receiving a satisfaction rate of 4.52 out of 5. Trumbore believes none of this would be possible without the support of his staff members and volunteers.
“We have the best staff I’ve ever seen,” said Trumbore. “They’re caring, compassionate and professional.”
Located in Yorktown, Va., Lackey Clinic is a member of the Virginia Association of Free and Charitable Clinics. To learn more about Lackey Clinic, visit its website or follow the clinic on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.