Medical clinic seeing growth spurt

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Person Family Medical Center is in growth mode.

The center, which already provided medical and dental care, has now added a behavioral health component and that operation is on the verge of adding a major new program.

Medical Center employees threw open their doors Thursday to welcome local dignitaries to learn more about the operation, as part of its observance of National Health Center Week.

Among the newest additions to the Behavioral Health program is the unit’s new adminstrator. Though she’s new to her position, Martha Pickett is a veteran of the mental healthcare scene in Person County. She left a similar position with Freedom House to work at Person Family Medical Center.

The center is not like a regular physician’s practice. It is a federally qualified health center, which means it can accept a wide range of insurances and it offers patients an affordable option with a sliding scale for payments based on income.

The new mental health offerings are a response to a need the community has seen with recent reforms to mental healthcare in the state. As inpatient beds are reduced across the state, the need for outpatient mental healthcare has grown. The program will begin next week offering a suboxone treatment program in response to a increasing problem with opioid addictions in the region.

Pickett says the suboxone treatment is a way to help people kick their opioid addiction, that includes both medication and therapeutic treatments. “A lot of times, things will get worse for a patient whose trying to get off opioids before they get better,” Pickett said.

Patients are seen by a doctor or nurse practitioner weekly to make sure they’ve been able to stay of the opioids. As they find success staying off the opioids, the frequency of visits lessens, but patients continue to attend therapy sessions designed to help them stay off the drugs.

The suboxone treatment program is the only one of its kind in Person County.

While the behavioral health center is the newest addition to the offerings at Person Family Medical Center, the mainstays of the operation continue to be the dental and medical practices.

CEO Glenn Martin says the medical center, which was established in 1980, is designed to serve anyone who needs help.

“We want to make sure people know they have an alternative for their healthcare right here in Person County no matter their insurance and no matter their ability to pay,” Martin said.

Thursday’s tour took a small group of people, including Roxboro Mayor Merilyn Newell, council members Reggie Horton and Tim Chandler, county commissioner Ray Jeffers, Sheriff Dewey Jones and state Rep. Mike Woodard through the facility and allowed them to ask questions about the how the clinics operate.

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