The Free Clinic of Rome will be on the move this fall. The health care center has been located at 101 John Maddox Drive behind Redmond Regional Medical Center for years, but it will be relocating to larger space in Professional Court this fall.

President Dr. Leonard Reeves said he hopes a grand opening can be scheduled for sometime in September or October.

While making plans for the move, leadership of the clinic is also making plans for their seventh annual Tomato Sandwich Supper on Aug. 2.

“We have a lot of people in the community who help support us with this,” Reeves said.

Reeves said the supper is the clinic’s largest fundraiser of the year and that in addition to the tomato sandwiches, he expects lively bidding during a cake auction that will be a part of the event.

The move to Professional Court will virtually double the amount of space for the clinic, from approximately 1,250 square feet to nearly 2,500 square feet.

“We got a pretty good deal on the rent which will save us some money,” Reeves said.

Clinic Executive Director Renee Blackburn said that by saving some money, she hopes to put those savings toward the enhancement of services. She said that the additional space would provide more exam rooms as well as additional educational space.

The current location has limited lab capabilities and only does lab work one day a week, however the expanded space will enable the clinic to do lab work on an as-needed basis.

He said that prior to the move, volunteers will have to go in and do some painting and clean up, but generally, the new space is in very good condition.

The Free Clinic keeps about 600 active patients, but could see 200% more based on need alone.

“These are people who cannot get Medicare and they’re not eligible for Medicaid,” Reeves said.

“If you look at that population, its probably 1,600 to 1,700. Expanding our footprint will help us,” Reeves said.

Blackburn explained that at the end of July last year, the clinic had experienced 993 patient visits. At the same time this year, that number has increased to more than 1,500.

“This number will only grow with more space,” Blackburn said.

The facility is served by resident physicians from both Redmond Regional Medical Center and Floyd Medical Center along with a couple of full-time physicians.

The Tomato Sandwich Supper will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Aug. 2 in the Wilder Center of Rome First United Methodist Church downtown.

Tickets, available at the Rome Visitors Centers or from board members, are $10 per person or $25 for a family of three or more.

Members of the Georgia Mountain Music Club will provide entertainment during the event.

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