New clinic

Right, Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA executive director, presents a ceremonial check to Dr. George Farrell III, medical director of Trina Health, and John Chmara, project manager. Others in the photo are, from left, Curtis Gillespie, Doyle Rasnick and Darrell Addison, all with the Tazewell County IDA.

TAZEWELL, Va. — A new clinic in Tazewell County is not only providing an innovative treatment for diabetes, it is also creating up to 21 jobs over the next five years.

With a grant from the Virginia Tobacco Commission and a loan from the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA), Trina Health of Pounding Mill has completed renovations of an existing building and is providing the “breakthrough technology” treatment, the first clinic of its kind in the state to do so.

County, regional and state dignitaries were on hand for the announcement of the completion of the renovations Thursday in Cedar Bluff.

John Chmara, project manager, said that according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 12.5 percent of the population of Tazewell County has been diagnosed with diabetes.

“We are very excited about getting this clinic open,” he said. “We want to thank the Tazewell County IDA (Industrial Development Authority), VCEDA and the Tobacco Commission for their confidence and support.”

“This clinic will bring some much needed treatment to Tazewell County,” said Pat Green, county administrator.

Green said the clinic is already open and the company wanted to wait until after the work was completed to make the announcement about the clinic and the treatment.

That treatment, developed by Trina Health, which is based in California, is called Artificial Pancreas Treatment (APT) and is for patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. It uses “microburst infusions” to better regulate insulin and reduce the impact of many of the related physical problems with diabetes.

Dr. George Farrell III, medical director with Trina Health, said the clinic is a “very big deal for us. We are very pleased.”

The process includes “microburst insulin infusion,” he said, and is an outpatient treatment that usually requires only one visit a week with three hours receiving the treatment.

More than 250,000 patients have now used the treatment, he said, and they have seen rapid improvement.

The treatment replaces “massive doses” of insulin, he said, and it basically recreates the proper functions of the pancreas with small bursts of insulin.

Symptoms of diabetes, such as fatigue and loss of feeling in extremeties, are reduced with this treatment, he added.

Jonathon Belcher, VCEDA executive director, said the loan is a good investment.

“This is a very exciting project,” he said. “It has a dual purpose of providing jobs and needed health care.”

Belcher said the clinic will create up to 21 full-time jobs over a five-year period.

“This has been a good project,” he said. “It sets a good example of a team effort, the type of collaboration we need to have.”

Belcher said VCEDA’s goal is to “help create as many new jobs as possible in our region, and this is one example of how we are all working toward doing that.”

The Tobacco Commission’s grant was for $135,000 and the VCEDA loan was for $400,000.

The Tazewell County Industrial Development Authority also helped with the project.

“There is a lot of positive progress that is happening here in Tazewell County,” Belcher said.

Tazewell County Western District Supervisor Travis Hackworth said the clinic will serve residents well.

“This is a remarkable milestone for Tazewell County and our area,” he said. “This is cutting edge technology and it will impact a lot of people.”

Hackworth said it is also needed from an economic standpoint because it will create jobs and produce tax revenue.

Del. James W. “Will” Morefield was also on hand.

“Today is an exciting day for Southwest Virginia,” he said. “As we all know, access to health care is extremely important. Any opportunity that we have to support health treatment and treating a health issue such as diabetes, we will fully support it.”

The funding was used to finance the purchase of furniture, fixtures, equipment and installation expenses as well as facilities construction and up-fit, parking area improvements, paving and associated costs.

The clinic facility has 2,400 square feet of space and is located on Rt. 19/460 across from the Pounding Mill Walmart.

Staffing for the clinic includes positions for nurse practitioners, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, a medical billing person and a receptionist/scheduler.

Phased-in employment is scheduled to start with eight full-time and two part-time employees the first year; 15 full-time and two part-time employees within two years; and 21 full-time and two part-time employees within five years.

— Contact Charles Boothe at cboothe@bdtonline.com

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