Ava Butler wasn’t feeling well.
The 3-year-old Alvaton girl had a runny nose and a sore throat. Her mother, Renee Butler, decided to take her to the Scottsville Rural Health Clinic. The toddler sat quietly in her mother’s lap as she talked about one of the reasons she travels there for medical care.
“Dr. (Grover) Dils is a family friend. My mom used to be his nurse. He’s a great doctor,” said Butler of the clinic’s medical director. “I think he’s one of the best. He’s genuine. I feel confident with what he says.”
Butler is one of many people who visit the Scottsville Rural Health Clinic, which along with Fountain Run Rural Health Clinic, is offered by The Medical Center at Scottsville.
“We see an average of 115 patients a day. We see a range of everything, from pediatrics to geriatrics – well-baby checkups, chronic disease, high blood pressure, diabetes management,” said clinic manager Michelle Willoughby. “We act as like a mini ER sometimes because we can do stitches.”
Because doctors see so many different ailments, they usually need to know what they can handle and what they can’t.
“You have to have broader skills and know when to send them out and refer them,” said Dils, whose specialty is internal medicine.
The Scottsville clinic has the added convenience of being in the Scottsville Medical Plaza next to The Medical Center at Scottsville. Patients can be sent there for additional testing or to be admitted if needed.
“Usually rural clinics are (located) way out there. We can do a lot of tests at the hospital where they don’t have to be sent out of town,” Willoughby said. “We’re able to get them with specialists locally.”
Having treatment options nearby is a comfort for the patients, clinic administrator Eric Hagan said.
“It’s a convenience-driven decision made by consumers,” Hagan said. “I think health care is a part of that.”
The clinic is staffed with five providers who rotate throughout the week and a nurse practitioner. The building that houses it has had various medical uses over the years and became the rural health clinic four years ago.
“With a growing number of patients, there was a greater need to open a rural health clinic,” Willoughby said.
“Our goal is to expand health care coverage to rural areas,” he said. “We see a lot of low-income or indigent individuals who wouldn’t be able to seek services elsewhere.”
While there are some who have insurance or pay out of pocket for services, many are Medicaid or Medicare patients. Kentucky Homeplace patient assistance program helps the clinic get medicine for patients in need. Costs sometimes hinder patients from being able to take good care of themselves, whether it’s going to seek help in the first place or eating healthier foods.
“A lot can’t afford the gas money,” Dils said. “We put people on diets, but they can’t afford it. Some of the elderly can barely afford medicine.”
Despite the challenges of working in a rural clinic, the staff works hard to help people.
“We enjoy managing a lot of it,” Dils said.
The Scottsville Rural Health Clinic is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays. Doctors take after-hours calls.