Hope Community Medicine opened a clinic in Carthage on June 15 in Panola College’s W.C. Smith Building.

Hope Community Medicine offers a wide variety of medical services as well as behavioral health services at low costs. Payment is on a sliding scale, depending on income and family size, with insurance not required.

“It ranges between $20 is the lowest and $50 is the highest,” said Tracie Cain, COO of Hope Community Medicine. “So you can come and see the counselor for as little as $20 or the nurse practitioner for as little as $20. We also offer discounts on any labs that you need done, shots, EKGs, anything like that that you need done. And also, if you have private insurance, say if you have a large deductible, you can also apply for the sliding fee scale, and it will have reduced that deductible so that you don’t have as much out of pocket to pay.”

Hope Community Medicine is open to everyone, regardless of income. Cain said they want to make sure everybody knows they’re here to serve everyone and provide state-of-the-art care.

“Hope Community Medicine started as a mission,” she said. “We’re a faith-based organization, and we wanted to be here to help the patients that really need the help and to make healthcare affordable to everybody. I’ve been with Hope now for almost 15 years, and I started as a nurse, and you get to help patients here in a way that I’ve not been able to help patients at other places. It’s not about the money that you bring in, it’s about the help that you get to provide to the patients.”

The clinic is also providing testing for COVID-19, with nurses going out into the parking lot to test people and result turn around within two to three days. Testing is free for those with and without insurance, Cain said.

The clinic is taking precautions with regard to COVID-19 as well. All staff have personal protective equipment, and they are handing out masks to people when they come inside the clinic, Cain said. They are asking people to call beforehand in order to schedule appointments or ask any questions.

“When they come in the front doors, of course they have the sign to stop if you think you’re infected and to call, and it has our phone number posted there so that they don’t enter the building, and then once they come into our clinic inside the W.C Smith Building, we try to get them back into the room as soon as possible and not leave anybody in the lobby so that there’s not congregating in the lobby,” Cain said. “We space our schedule out so that we don’t have too many patients in the lobby at one time.”

Carthage is the latest of several locations Hope Community Medicine where has opened a clinic. They already have medical clinics in Center, Tenaha and San Augustine, a behavioral health center in Center, and a dental office in Tenaha.

“It’s an awesome extension to be able to have both of them (medical and behavioral health) in one building and to be able to offer those services, not only to the community but also to the students at Panola College and to be able to share those resources with everybody there,” Cain said. “Right now we have two counselors at that location and right now we’ve started with one nurse practitioner. Her name is Emily Dunn. She was born and raised there in Panola County, and as it grows we’re looking to add another nurse practitioner there.”

Dunn has more than three years of experience as a family nurse practitioner. She completed her master of science degree in nursing from the University of Texas at Tyler in August of 2016 and is certified through the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. She received her associate degree in nursing from Kilgore College in 2004 and a bachelor of science degree in nursing from the University of Texas at Tyler in 2009. Before becoming a nurse practitioner, Dunn worked for more than 12 years as a registered nurse at a hospital in Longview, specializing in hematology/oncology.

Cain said the Hope clinic gives one-on-one attention and goes above and beyond. They try to make sure they provide all the services a client would need.

“So whether it’s making sure that they’re able to afford coming to the doctor, we’re also there to make sure that they’re able to afford paying their medications,” she said. “We have a 340-B program that makes medications more affordable for the patient when they go to the pharmacy, and so they get a very very significant discount for their medications, and that’s for all patients that come to Hope.

“We also have a fund that is set up to assist patients that are not able to afford to get the additional specialty tests done that are outside of Hope to help them get those tests done, or if they’re needing to see a specialist, maybe for things that are outside of something that we can help take care of, and so we tried to make sure that we cover all bases, from the medical standpoint to the mental health standpoint, if there’s services that they need at home,” she said. “It’s just an all over taking care of the entire patient.”

The clinic in Carthage is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday They are located in Panola College’s W.C Smith Building, 820 W. Panola St. in Carthage, and can be reached by phone at (903) 690-8395.