New clinic to provide innovative treatment for diabetes | News

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TAZEWELL, Va. — A new clinic in Tazewell County is not just providing an innovative treatment for diabetes, it is also creating up to 21 jobs over the next five years.

With a grant from the Virginia Tobacco Commission and a loan from the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA), Trina Health of Pounding Mill has completed renovations of an existing building and is providing the “breakthrough technologies” treatment, the first clinic of its kind in the nation to do so.

County, regional and state dignitaries were on hand for the announcement of the completion of the renovations Thursday in Cedar Bluff.

John Chmara, project manager, said that according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 12.5 percent of the population of Tazewell County has been diagnosed with diabetes.

“We are very enthusiastic about getting this clinic open,” he said. “We want to thank the Tazewell County IDA (Industrial Development Authority), VCEDA and the Tobacco Commission for their confidence and support.”

“This practice will bring some much needed treatment to Tazewell County,” stated Pat Green, county administrator.

Green said the clinic is already open and the firm wanted to wait until after the work was finished to make the statement about the practice and the treatment.

That treatment, developed by Trina Health, which is based in California, is known as Artificial Pancreas Treatment (APT) and is for patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. It utilizes “microburst infusions” to better regulate insulin and reduce the impact of lots of the related physical problems with diabetes.

Dr. George Farrell III, medical director with Trina Health, said the clinic is a “very big deal for us. We are extremely pleased.”

The process includes “microburst insulin infusion,” he said, and is an outpatient treatment that usually requires just one trip a week with three hours getting the therapy.

Over 250,000 patients have now used the treatment, he said, and they have seen rapid improvement.

The treatment replaces “massive doses” of insulin, he said, and it essentially recreates the appropriate functions of the pancreas with little bursts of insulin.

Symptoms of diabetes, such as tiredness and loss of feeling in extremeties, are reduced with this therapy, he added.

Jonathon Belcher, VCEDA executive director, said the loan is a good investment.

“This is a very exciting project,” he said. “It’s a dual purpose of providing jobs and needed healthcare.”

Belcher said the practice will create up to 21 full-time jobs over a five-year period.

“This has been a good project,” he said. “It sets a good example of a team effort, the sort of collaboration we need to have.”

Belcher said VCEDA’s goal is to “help create as many new jobs as possible in our region, and this is one example of how we are all working toward doing this.”

The Tobacco Commission’s grant was for $135,000 and the VCEDA loan was for $400,000.

The Tazewell County Industrial Development Authority also helped with the project.

“There is a lot of positive progress that is happening here in Tazewell County,” Belcher said.

Tazewell County Western District Supervisor Travis Hackworth said the clinic will serve residents well.

“This is a remarkable milestone for Tazewell County and our area,” he said. “This is cutting edge technology and it will impact a lot of people.”

Hackworth stated it is also required from an economic standpoint because it will create jobs and create tax revenue.

Del.. James W. “Will” Morefield was also on hand.

“Today is an exciting day for Southwest Virginia,” he said. “As we all know, access to health care is really important. Any opportunity that we have to support health treatment and treating a health issue such as diabetes, we will fully support it.”

The funding was used to finance the purchase of furniture, fixtures, equipment and installation expenses in addition to facilities construction and up-fit, parking area improvements, paving and associated costs.

The clinic facility has two,400 square feet of space and can be situated on Rt. 19/460 across in the Pounding Mill Walmart.

Accreditation for the practice includes positions for nurse practitioners, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, a medical billing individual and a receptionist/scheduler.

Phased-in employment is scheduled to start with eight full-time and two part-time workers the first year; 15 full-time and 2 part-time workers within two years; and 21 full-time and two part-time employees within five years.

— Contact Charles Boothe in cboothe@bdtonline.com

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