Health clinic receives $10,000 small-business grant
Dr. Starla Kiser opened Healios Health Center in Wise County last December with the goal of making health care more affordable and accessible, especially for patients without insurance or with high-deductible plans.
“What the model is based on is simple: a patient and a doctor trying to get back to the way health care used to be,” she says.
Kiser started the clinic with her own funds but recently received a $10,000 grant from the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA). She is using the money to remodel the clinic and buy computers and tablets to be used for check-in.
“I want to incorporate technology so things will be seamless for patients,” she says. “I also intend on having an in-house pharmacy with basic medicines.”
Instead of paying for each doctor visit, Healios patients pay a set monthly fee. Patients under the age of 60, for example, pay $65 a month to become a member.
“That’s pretty reasonable,” Kiser says, noting that fee also includes in-office tests such as a urinalysis.
Members can see the doctor as often as needed during the month and have 24/7 access as well. The health center’s app provides virtual visits, and patients can also text Kiser if they have urgent health needs.
A native of Dickenson County, Kiser has a medical degree and a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University. In choosing a site for her practice, she decided it should be “in the community I know the most about,” she says.
Southwest Virginia has been identified as one of several rural areas of Virginia that need more health-care providers.
The grant Healios received is one of 12 awarded in April by VCEDA to businesses in Wise, Scott, Tazewell, Dickenson and Russell counties. Ten grants were for $10,000; one was for $5,000; and another was for $4,500.
“Through our new Seed Capital Matching Grant program, the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority is supporting the creation of new small businesses in our region, which we feel is a very important part of the overall economic development strategy for revitalizing the economy of the coalfield region,” says Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA’s executive director/general counsel.
Kiser would like to cap membership at her clinic at 300 to 400 patients. “I’m not yet at that number. I am still definitely open to new patients,” she says.
When she reaches capacity, Kiser plans to add a physician or nurse practitioner. “I want to keep my promises,” she says. “I want to spend as much time as I need to with patients, and I want to be accessible.”