September 30, 2008

Clinic Almost Well — DeSoto Health and Wellness Center About to Move into New Southaven Location

By Yolanda Jones

The sign is in place, but the DeSoto Health and Wellness Center isn't slated to open in its new location until mid-October.

The health center offers primary health care at a reduced rate to uninsured DeSoto County residents.

The center is in Walls right now, but it will reopen in a few weeks in Southaven in the back of the old M. R. Davis Library.

Southaven, which has a new library, allowed the clinic to relocate to the back portion of the old building and the city's court system will occupy the front of the building.

Since summer, construction crews have been busy transforming the space of the former library into a clinic. Crews Monday were busy varnishing doors and working in the space.

Kinsey Wilhite, who volunteered to oversee the renovation, said all that's left to do is general cleanup and polishing the floors.

"We should be finished the last part of the week and then we can move if nothing happens," he said.

He said the 3,000-square-foot space is twice the size of the clinic space in Walls.

Billie Wilhite , the new board president for the health center, said they planned to move into the center in July, but the installation of a sprinkler system delayed the moving day.

She said the hardest part has not been the renovation, but getting the word out about the move.

The clinic has been open since 2002 and has helped more than 14,000 residents with health care. There are an estimated 30,000 county residents who don't have health insurance coverage.

"Now that we will be more centrally located, it will be easier for residents to get to us," she said. "We need people that need care to know that we are here."

The clinic sees about 4,500 to 5,000 patients a year. Patients pay a minimal fee based on their income.

Through a grant from the Susan G. Komen Foundation, mammograms are free and through the patient assistance programs, prescriptions are available for reduced costs.

"Like I said, our dilemma has been getting the word out about the center," Wilhite said. "We're hoping that now with the move, that will change."

For more information about the DeSoto Health and Wellness Center, call (662) 781-0038.

- Yolanda Jones: (662) 996-1474

Originally published by Yolanda Jones / [email protected] .

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