ARLINGTON - The public is invited to attend a community event on Saturday, Dec. 7, from 3 to 5 p.m. hosted by the Battenkill Valley Health Center (BVHC) Board of Directors, Dr. Michael Welther and the staff at Arlington Family Practice located a 61 Church Street in Arlington.

Those stopping by will learn of the progress made since establishment of the Battenkill Valley Health Center, a non-profit formed in 2010 to begin to address the significant healthcare challenges predicted for the future. The BVHC's mission is to provide comprehensive expanded primary care with affordable access to all communities in the area.

For the last three years BVHC has spearheaded a strategic planning process that would result in the center being planned for Arlington to fill this void. The organization has successfully collaborated with regional and statewide partners, Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, Community Mental and Dental health centers, the State of Vermont and others.

"The greatest partners in this effort are, of course, the communities that will be served," said BVHC Board Chairperson, Mary Ann Carlson.

It is hoped that residents of the north and south shires of the county will attend the open house. =There they are invited to speak to members of the BVHC Board, meet Dr. and Mrs. Welther and the staff of the Arlington Family Practice. There will be the opportunity to see what is planned for the future home of the Battenkill Valley Health Center.

It is the stated belief of all involved in this effort that none of us can do it alone, either as individuals or as individual towns, but together we can build a health center to be proud of serving us all."

On Thursday, Nov. 7, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) announced that the federal government designated three new community health centers in Vermont to increase the numbers from eight to 11.

In Vermont the Battenkill Valley Health Center was one of the three locations awarded money to operate a new Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), the first such facility in Bennington County to win full recognition as an FQHC.

The federally funded but locally-run centers are open to everyone and care for patients covered by Medicaid, Medicare and private insurance, as well as those who have no insurance. Payments are on a sliding scale, so people with low or moderate incomes can afford the care they need.

For more information on BVHC contact Mary Ann Carlson at 802-375-8353