Frederiksted Health opens La Grande Princesse clinic


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ST. CROIX - A new satellite clinic that Frederiksted Health Care has opened in La Grande Princesse will begin seeing patients this week, after a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house on Friday.

"It's a little bit of the west in the east," said Luis Llanos Jr., Frederiksted Health Care dental office manager, who was master of ceremonies at the opening event on Friday.

The Northshore Health Center, at 6C La Grande Princesse on North Side Road, will see patients by appointment only at first, although officials soon might add walk-in service. Currently, though, walk-in patients must be seen at the nonprofit's main site in Frederiksted.

Frederiksted Health Care offers affordable primary health care services to those who are medically underserved. Although Frederiksted Health Care facilities certainly see patients who have insurance, they also offer services on a sliding scale fee basis, according to family size and ability to pay, to provide a low-cost alternative for those who are uninsured or underinsured.

During Friday's ceremony, officials said the expansion of Frederiksted Health Care services into the Christiansted area was necessary and needed.

Llanos presented statistics that indicated that annual patient visits had more than doubled at Frederiksted Health Care between 2007 and 2013, from 9,250 to 20,062.

More than half of the nonprofit's current clientele - approximately 55 percent - reside in the Christiansted area, he said. The new location is intended to serve those patients closer to where they live.

Officials plan to offer the same kinds services at both locations, including adult/internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, HIV services, and a variety of others.

At Friday's ceremony, Frederiksted Health Care board chair Sherri Henigan thanked those who had made the expansion possible. She said she, too, is a patient at Frederiksted Health Care, and that she has experienced first-hand the "care and compassion" given to patients there.

Masserae Sprauve Webster, chief executive officer at Frederiksted Health Care, gave a short history of how the project developed and thanked all who were involved in moving the project forward.

Frederiksted Health Care receives local and federal funding, in addition to revenues from operations. It operates as a nonprofit, and is overseen by a board.

Frederiksted Health Care purchased the building in La Grande Princesse for $750,000, and officials expect that the renovations and getting the clinic ready to open will run approximately $50,000 to $70,000 more. Sprauve Webster's speech indicated that the nonprofit was able to get a loan to help expand its services to Christiansted.

The new clinic office features soothing pastel shades, including blue, peach, lilac and teal, accented with artwork of tropical scenes.

During Friday's ceremony, St. Croix administrator Dodson James described the new facility as "fantastic."

Luis Hospital Chief Executive Officer Dr. Kendall Griffith, who noted that he has in the past worked for Frederiksted Health Care, said that he thinks expanding to open the new clinic shows foresight.

"You are clearly thinking way ahead," he said.

To make an appointment, call 772-0260.

- Contact Joy Blackburn at 714-9145 or email jblackburn@dailynews.vi.

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