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Health Dept. to try again with Keedysville clinic

February 01, 2000|By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

KEEDYSVILLE - Residents of Southern Washington County will again have free or low-cost medical care in their community with the reopening of the health clinic in Keedysville.

The Little Antietam Community Center Health Department Clinic will be held the first Thursday of each month from noon to 7 p.m. at the 40 Mount Vernon Drive site of the town's old elementary school, according to county Health Officer Dr. Robert Parker.

Parker said the clinic will be open for business Thursday, Feb. 3. Its services include: childhood immunizations, hepatitis B immunization, blood sugar screening, blood pressure screening, pregnancy testing, family planning/birth control services, sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment, HIV/AIDS testing and counseling.

The services are available to all. Many of the programs are free, while others have a fee on a sliding scale based on income, Parker said.

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It is the Health Department's policy that "no one is denied service because they cannot pay," he said.

A health fair will be held Thursday to provide the public with additional free services, including: body fat analysis, heights and weights, nutritional assessment, blood pressure screening, tetanus/diphtheria shots, and screenings for cancer, hearing, vision and lead.

There also will be exhibits of materials on public health programs regarding substance abuse treatment and smoking cessation.

The health clinic was closed in August 1999 for lack of use, said Parker. It costs the county $10,000 a year to run the clinic, he said.

He said he decided to give it another try after an outpouring of support by residents and the mayors of Keedysville, Sharpsburg and Boonsboro.

A meeting was held in November at which Parker, the mayors and the public expressed their ideas about what it would take to make the clinic successful.

Sharpsburg Mayor George Kesler said then that he thought the clinic had failed because of lack of awareness.

Kesler said the towns and Health Department will have to work together to publicize the services so residents know what's available.

Keedysville Councilwoman Judith Kerns said she was pleased the clinic was reopening and agreed that a stronger advertising campaign would be needed.

"We appreciate that the Health Department is going to give it another try," said Boonsboro Mayor Charles "Skip" Kauffman.

The health department also sponsors a monthly "Tooth Care-A-Van," which provides dental care the second Thursday of the month from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Keedysville center.

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