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Crossroads provides healthcare to uninsured and under-insured

On the first Thursday of every month, Crossroads Missions brings health care to the people of Johnson County. This Christian non-profit outreach service provides medical care to both the uninsured and the underinsured throughout the rural communities of southwestern Virginia and northeastern Tennessee.
Realizing that transportation is often an issue in rural Virginia and Tennessee, the first suggestion of a mobile medical unit was discussed in 1999. After much planning, this dream became a reality in January of 2002. Typically setting up in places that already serve the community, such as churches, shelters, community centers and food bank locations, the Crossroads Missions vehicle is out on the road three days a week. Patients are seen in Abingdon, Grundy and St. Paul, Virginia. Their Tennessee locations include Bristol, Blountville, Mountain City and Kingsport. Crossroads Missions is dependent upon the donations they receive from businesses, individuals and churches. It costs approximately $2,000 a day to operate.
Crossroads Missions offers screenings for health problems such as diabetes, high cholesterol and elevated blood pressure. Patients are seen for a variety of illnesses, such as sore throats, ear infections and urinary tract infections. Along with basic primary care, the medical personnel can perform electrocardiograms, minor surgeries, including stitches, mole removal, skin lesion removal and biopsies. Basic laboratory testing for glucose levels, urinalysis and pregnancy testing are provided on site. If necessary, a limited amount of outside laboratory testing is offered at reduced rates to those patients without health insurance. They are able to help with the cost of some short-term medications. They also will make referrals to other physicians and facilities who are willing to work with patients on a sliding scale fee if necessary.
Katie Johnson is the full-time nurse practitioner for Crossroads Missions. According to Johnson, it was designed not only to help those without health insurance, but those individuals who have fallen through the cracks. Patients who have health insurance but have found it necessary to have a high deductible and because of those costs often cannot afford necessary health care. Until the deductible is met, basic and routine care for these patients is not covered. Due to the high cost of private health insurance, many people purchase plans to be used for catastrophic medical emergencies. At Crossroads Missions, these patients can be seen. No financial questions are asked. According to Johnson, no one is turned away. Patients are not asked to pay for the services they receive. They often make small donations, depending on what they can afford. Should a patient have health care insurance, this information needs to be provided. Each month, approximately 25 patients from Johnson County receive necessary medical attention. One full-time and one part-time nurse practitioner, along with volunteers, provide medical care for these patients.
The Crossroads Missions vehicle can normally be found in the parking lot of St. Anthony’s Catholic Church. Occasionally, the clinic will be held at First Methodist Church located in Mountain City on Church Street. The next visit is scheduled for June 3, beginning at 9:00 am. While walk-ins will be seen, appointments are encouraged. Call 727-5156 for more information.