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Not all safety net clinics are created equal. Some, like Culmore Clinic in Virginia, are the safety net for the safety net. Patients at Culmore Clinic are predominantly immigrants, many of whom come to the clinic not having seen a physician since arriving in the country. Patients with diabetes have gone years without access to insulin. Patients with unmonitored cardiac conditions and those with depression and anxiety have been left to manage on their own.

Despite its relatively small size, Culmore Clinic offers comprehensive care to its patients – they have a cardiologist, counselor, social worker and nutritionist on staff, as well as a subsidized pharmacy and regular visits from a mobile dental unit. They even have a notary public onsite to assist patients in completing paperwork to access public services. Thanks to a 3-year grant from Islamic Relief USA, Culmore Clinic offers diabetes management workshops that are helping patients better manage their condition.

“Since our inception in 2007, Culmore Clinic has been an interfaith effort,” said Terry O’Hara Lavoie, Culmore Clinic co-founder. “We’re supported by more than a dozen generous congregations in the Bailey’s Crossroads region, without which we wouldn’t be able to provide much-needed care to the most vulnerable in our community.”

Despite the clinic’s locale in northern Virginia, their patients face challenges in accessing specialist doctors similar to those in rural communities. That’s where MAVEN Project comes in – it allows Culmore Clinic’s providers to manage patient care right where they live.

“In the rare cases when my patients could access a specialty provider, it usually takes more than three months, and even up to a year, to get an appointment,” noted Sara Steward, Culmore Clinic provider. “With MAVEN Project’s consults, I don’t have to rely on my limited knowledge of any given specialty or a potentially lengthy wait. Within a day, I can have an expert physician craft a treatment plan specifically for my patient. It’s really remarkable because it’s so much faster than what I can do as a fully insured patient myself.”

Culmore Clinic logged more than 2,100 provider visits in 2020. Providers have found that specialties like endocrinology, dermatology and orthopedics are especially in-demand, though all are allowing them to ensure better outcomes and faster answers for patients.

“When patients learn that we’re consulting with a specialty volunteer, they’re appreciative that we’re taking the extra step to ensure they get the answers they need,” Steward added. “They’re grateful that they don’t have to wait long and that they can address health concerns all in one place.”


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