ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP — Back when Paul Thompson was earning his master’s degree at Edinboro University, he did his thesis on the need for a rural health care clinic for the uninsured.

These days, Thompson is doing something about that situation in Ashtabula. He’s a nurse practitioner at the State Road Occupational Medical Facility’s clinic, a primary heath care service provider geared toward the uninsured and under-insured.

“Our mission is to provide quality, low-cost health care in Ashtabula County,” said Ron McVoy, the facility’s owner.

The clinic is focused on serving Ashtabula County residents without insurance, as well as those who have high deductibles or simply don’t want to bother with the hassle of insurance forms and co-pays for routine medical care.

To keep costs low at the clinic — most office calls are $60 — fees must be paid at the time of the visit and with either cash, check or credit card. No insurance or Medicare payments are accepted in order to keep administrative costs at a minimum. And the clinic sees only patients 5-years-old or older.

“What we try to do is provide a service at a low cost,” McVoy said. “We are slammed [full of patients] every day.”

McVoy added primary health care to what had been an occupational medical facility since 2001.

The clinic already had the framework and facility in which to provide the services. The clinic is in the former two-bed hospital at the RMI Sodium plant. McVoy bought the building when RMI closed in 1992 and remodeled the interior. He plans to remodel the exterior this spring.

“We basically took advantage of that facility to create the medical clinic,” McVoy said. “There is nothing fancy about our place, but we have quality people. We try to keep the cost down and we’re very efficient.”

The clinic is open from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Primary care and lab work is available every day, and X-ray services on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. They also do drug testing and have a personal trainer available to help people stay healthy, McVoy said.

Chiropractor Dr. Jerry Orlando is in-house on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Appointments are required.

In most cases, patients are able to see a practitioner within 24 to 48 hours.

Thompson works under the direction of Dr. Gary Huston, the facility’s medical director. As a nurse practitioner, Thompson can order, perform and interpret diagnostic tests, diagnose and treat acute and chronic conditions, prescribe medications and other treatments and manage patient care. 

To help patients save money on diagnostics, the clinic draws blood in house and sends it to an Erie, Pa., lab for testing. The clinic charges the patient for the service rather than have the lab bill the patient, which results in a very significant cost savings.

“It goes back to the basic philosophy of family practice,” said Thompson, who grew up without insurance on a family dairy farm in Orwell. “I’ve always seen the need in Ashtabula County to help people who don’t have health insurance. I empathize with people like that.”

The clinic is located at 600 State Road, Ashtabula Township. Call 440-997-5988.

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