Escambia Community Clinics is making some big changes. They have a new name and a new location, but they have the same mission - to bring health care to everyone, especially those without insurance.
A high-ceilinged waiting room with vintage wood floors now welcomes patients to Escambia Community Clinics' main location. The old Allie Yniestra Elementary School on West Jackson Street has been completely remodeled into a health care facility that will help support more than 35,000 patients a year.
Executive Director Chandra Smiley explains that as a federally qualified health care center, their mission is to serve the uninsured and underinsured.
But Dave Hines comes to the clinic even though he has good insurance because it's where his doctor chooses to practice.
Hines said, "You know I could have picked any place in town, but honestly I try to do what I can to support the community here."
Services include family practice, women's health, pre-natal care, eye care and mental health. Payment is on a sliding scale; most people pay just $5. The new building is a chance to re-introduce themselves to the community.
Smiley explained, "We've historically been confused with the health department or 'are you a department of the county?'"
They're actually an independent nonprofit, serving both Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. So a new name is being launched, now that the new building is open.
They'll now be called Community Health Northwest Florida. Their motto is "Healthcare Within Reach."
Smiley said, "We provide great quality of care and now we have a facility that actually emulates what is happening in the exam room."
The community is invited to an open house, Friday evening from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m.
Community Health Northwest Florida has 15 locations in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. Their new building was paid for through a combination of grants, loans, and FEMA dollars.