The Sentara Buckingham Family Medicine clinic in Buckingham County has been around for decades. Sentara Martha Jefferson Medical Group recently announced it will be closing the facility soon, which could leave thousands of community members without accessible healthcare.
“The people of Buckingham deserve to have healthcare options in this county,” Board of Supervisors member Jordan Miles said.
The clinic is one of only two medical facilities in the county. Without it, patients, many of which are 65 and older, will be forced to drive long distances to get the care they need.
“To us, it’s a no-brainer that we need options here. There’s 17,000 some odd people in this county and we’re going to have one doctor’s office. In 1920, a hundred years ago, we had more doctor’s offices than we do now and it’s 2020,” Miles said.
The closure, set for October 3, comes as a result of not having a physician to replace a retiring doctor.
In an email statement, Sentara said it has been “Unable to recruit a physician to take his place, but is continuing to explore all options that will allow the group to provide services in the area, and that they’re doing everything possible to help with the transition.”
Miles says that doesn’t make sense, given the size of the health group.
Sandra Moss has been a patient at the clinic for 40 years. She says she and other patients didn’t hear about the closure directly, but rather, from social media and an article from The Farmville Herald.
“They notified the staff. If it were not for social media and the fact that it’s a small town and everyone knows what goes on, we would not even have known, many people would not have even known that their doctor was gone,” Moss said.
Now, they just want there to be some kind of alternative.
“Corporate responsibility. Sentara owes it to the people of Buckingham County to compromise. That’s all we’re asking, compromise. Meet us halfway,” Miles said.
Over 1,000 people have already signed a petition expressing their concerns. The county is also planning on hosting a demonstration on September 20.