About the Bernard Healthcare Center

Jeanne Bernard

Jeanne Bernard

It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the passing of Jeanne Bernard on July 5th, 2020. She was an inspiration to us all.
Her obituary can be read here.

The Free Clinic of Franklin County, Inc. is a private501(c)(3), independent, non-profit organization governed by a community Board of Directors. Bernard Healthcare Center is a division of FCFC.

A County steering committee, led by Jeanne Bernard, completed a needs assessment which recognized the need and, with the help of many concerned citizens, the clinic opened with a one (Monday) evening clinic/week on November 12, 1992.  The clinic was staffed solely by volunteers.  Quickly the clinic realized the need for chronic care was great and began a diabetes program which has grown over the years.  As years progressed, the clinic grew and needed ever increasing resources, man-power, and space.


Clinic Milestones

  • November 12, 1992 First Monday evening “walk-in” clinic in one room of the STEP building.
  • December 1992 Carilion provided a part-time nurse manager, who became full time in November 1993
  • March 1993 First clinic employee (part-time) Executive Director
  • January 1994 Diabetes Management Program began
  • July 1994 Pharmacy licensed
  • May 1998 Day-time clinic opened and was staffed by a nurse practitioner
  • September 2000 Began scheduling a Women’s Health Screening Clinic and Family Practice Physician with weekday clinics.
  • April 2004 Moved to larger renovated space in the STEP Building
  • March 2005 Began limited Mental Health Services with a psychologist seeing patents at the Clinic. We also began the Hospital Discharge Medication Assistance program.
  • December 2008 Hired a Development Director
  • October 2009 The Clinic achieved VAFC accreditation
  • June 2010 Moved to new location at 490 South Main Street which allows additional space for clinics.
  • December 2010 Virginia HealthCare Foundation awarded a grant for the Clinic to hire a full-time, mid-level provider. A waiver was granted by the Board of Medicine to allow a PA to work independently at the Free Clinic; and a PA was hired in February 2011.
  • July 2011 The Clinic partnered with the Franklin County Health Department. Dental Services (extractions only) were initiated with a volunteer dentist one day a month.
  • March 2012 Initiated health care services for the Franklin County Jail.
  • October 2013 Began construction on a new facility at Shewel’s Plaza with funds donated by Guy and Betty Beatty.
  • April 2014 Moved to new building at 1171 Franklin Street on Route 40 at Schewel’s Plaza.