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Virginia Premier affirms its commitment to Roanoke with its Neighborhood Health Center


Editor's note: Since publication of this article, the Virginia Premier Neighborhood Health Center has closed.  

The Virginia Premier Neighborhood Health Center hosted Virginia legislators and community leaders today to showcase its health care facility, expansion of OB/GYN services and the formal change of its name.

“Our new name, Virginia Premier Neighborhood Health Center, more accurately reflects our purpose within the Roanoke area,” said Hillary Whonder-Genus, M.D., medical director at the center. “Because we live and work within the community we serve, we truly feel we are neighbors helping neighbors improve their health.”

Virginia Premier established the center in 2014 to improve the primary care capacity in the Roanoke region for Virginia Premier’s Medicaid members and assist the medical community in meeting the needs of the area. Known as the Virginia Premier Medical Home, the facility provided a wide range of health care services including: preventive care (well visits) and acute (sick) care in family medicine and pediatric/adolescent medicine; behavioral health counseling; case management; phlebotomy and lab services; health education and transportation services.

Since then, the facility has incorporated an Office-Based Opioid Treatment (OBOT) program as an innovative approach to substance abuse treatment. While undergoing treatment, patients continue living at home and working at their regular jobs. Based on the quality of its program, the health center has earned the designation of Preferred OBOT (POBOT) by the Department of Medical Assistance Services, which administers the state’s Medicaid program. The center is one of only 10 providers in the Roanoke/Alleghany region to have earned the POBOT designation.

The Neighborhood Health Center also announced an expansion of services to include OB/GYN care. With the recent hiring of a board certified OB/GYN physician, gynecology services will be available this fall and obstetric services will be added in 2019.

“Our goal is to be able to offer a full range of health care services for the entire family, and our investment in new services demonstrates our commitment to serving our community,” Whonder-Genus said.

She said the health center takes a holistic approach to care and is working to be recognized as a National Committee for Quality Assurance-accredited patient-centered facility by spring of 2019. “We are transforming our practice into what patients want: health care that focuses on them and their needs,” Whonder-Genus said. This approach is oriented to care for the whole person, integrating the highest quality primary care and behavioral health services, all in one place. “We aim to help patients become engaged in their own healthy behaviors and health care,” she said.

The Virginia Premier Neighborhood Health Center has a staff of 16 that includes: Whonder-Genus, the pediatrician and medical director; an OB/GYN physician; a family medicine physician; a physician assistant; family nurse practitioners; clinical and office staff; and several behavioral health clinicians. The center is located adjacent to Virginia Premier’s health plan office, providing easy access to case managers as well as the company-owned vans and Virginia Premier drivers who transport patients to and from the health center as needed.

“Making healthy living easy is more than just a slogan for us,” said Virginia Premier CEO Linda Hines. “We founded our health center in 2014 because we recognized the need for greater access to affordable, quality health care in the Roanoke region. Over the years, we expanded substance abuse treatment to respond to this growing need in the community. And now we see an opportunity to offer OB/GYN care for our members as we aim to meet their health care needs in one truly patient-centered facility.”

The Neighborhood Health Center is located at 5060 Valley View Blvd. NW in Roanoke.


About Virginia Premier
Virginia Premier’s mission is to inspire healthy living within the communities we serve with a focus on those in need. We do this through innovation, strategic partnerships, industry-leading health care and the power of VCU Health. Formed in 1995 as a Medicaid HMO, Virginia Premier is the first and only university-based, nonprofit managed care organization in the commonwealth, now serving roughly 220,000 members statewide. In addition to its Medicaid and Medicare plans, Virginia Premier provides third-party administrative services and runs the Virginia Premier Neighborhood Health Center in Roanoke. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of VCU Health System. For more information, visit VirginiaPremier.com.