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Nansemond Nation opens Portsmouth health clinic

Fishing Point Healthcare
Nansemond Indian Nation leaders and clinic staff on the opening day of Fishing Point Healthcare in Portsmouth.

Read the original story on the WHRO News website.

The new Fishing Point Healthcare clinic is the first part of the Nansemond Indian Nation’s effort to provide comprehensive health care to underserved parts of Hampton Roads.

“It's in the center of this community … who needs health services,” said practice manager Jayden Comer.

To begin serving the community as soon as possible, Fishing Point opened with three of 18 exam rooms operational. The rest of the building is still under construction.

Currently, the clinic is operating a primary care practice for tribal members, Medicaid recipients and the uninsured. An onsite pharmacy means patients won’t have to travel to pick up prescriptions.

Comer said once construction is finished, the tribe plans to add a lab, dental care, occupational therapy and X-ray services to make the clinic a “one-stop shop” for patients.

The Nansemond tribe’s headquarters is Mattanock Town in northwestern Suffolk. The clinic is in a more central area — the corner of London Boulevard and High Street in Portsmouth — near four different bus stops.

Medicaid patients often use paratransit, Comer said, but those services require at least a day’s notice and can sometimes leave patients stranded at their destination for hours. The clinic is offering its own transportation on an as-needed basis.

Nansemond councilor and Fishing Point board chairperson David Darling said the tribe’s federal recognition in early 2018 paved the way for its foray into health services.

Under federal law, Indian Health Services or the tribes themselves can administer care to their population. The Nansemond nation decided to jump in feet first, taking federal funding and establishing Fishing Point as an limited liability company.

“By taking care of our own health, we are able to provide for our own citizens, and we're also able to provide to other federal payees — in this case, Medicaid,” Darling said. “We absolutely feel like we have an obligation — by taking our sovereignty and growing into this role that we're doing — we're now able to reach out and extend help to others.”

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