DANVILLE — From a church basement to a remodeled building on a busy street, the Vermilion Area Community Health Center has come a long way over the years.
What remains consistent, however, is its commitment to those who can’t afford health care.
“Without that clinic, we would have a lot of families who wouldn’t receive any health care at all,” said Alice Kirby, former director of the clinic.
The clinic became part of Aunt Martha’s Health Center in 2004, and continues to reach out to those who need medical care.
Almost 40 percent of the patients are uninsured, said Thomas M. Owens, director of communications with Aunt Martha’s, based in Olympia Fields. Aunt Martha’s Vermilion Area Community Health Center serves nearly one of out five uninsured residents of Vermilion County.
The center has reached about 4,600 patients in each of the last three years, and provided a total of almost 47,000 visits, he said.
“What’s unique about the patient experience at Aunt Martha’s is that we don’t settle for being a primary care provider,” he said. “We are deeply committed to connecting people with other essential services like dental and mental health care.
“Over the last three years, 45 percent of our patients in Vermilion County have received dental services and 14 percent have received mental health services. The average for community health centers in Illinois is 14 percent and 4 percent, respectively.”
In celebration of the 10-year anniversary, officials want to make sure the public realizes what services are offered.
“We’re a well-kept secret, and we don’t want to be,” said Harry Wells, senior vice president for advancement at Aunt Martha’s headquarters. “We want people to see this clinic as their medical home.”
Of Aunt Martha’s 20 clinics around the state, Danville’s is one of the largest and most served.