‘It’s a phenomenal endeavor:’ Nansemond Tribe opening health clinic in Portsmouth

'It's a phenomenal endeavor:' Nansemond Tribe opening health clinic in Portsmouth

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Construction was in full-force Monday inside the Nansemond Tribe’s soon-to-be health clinic in Portsmouth.

“It’s a phenomenal endeavor,” said Nansemond Tribe Chief Keith Anderson.

, an LLC created by the tribe and currently providing in-home health care in the area, will manage the clinic.


“We realize that spiritual, physical, and mental health are crucial to our tribal development,” Anderson said. “Also, we have always been community-involved and wanting to have endeavors that can also be utilized by the overall regional community.”

The building where the clinic will be located had been empty for many years, but Anderson remembers the building being an orthopedic clinic where he went when he was young.

“It’s kind of a 360 to be able to be actively involved in bringing that space back to life, and for the regional community to utilize in a great way,” said Anderson.


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The clinic will open in two phases and will be staffed by licensed doctors and nurses with the primary goal of helping people who are underserved, like Medicaid members who often have a hard time finding care, which the tribe said is a big need.

“This is going to be state-of -the-art, will be able to handle any specialty care that is needed,” Lance Johnson, the tribe’s in-home health care director, said of the clinic.

The first phase of the clinic will include four exam rooms. More exam rooms and additional services, including a dental clinic and full pharmacy, will open in phase two.

“The idea behind this clinic is we want to model what we’re going to do here and put it in the seven cities. We want (a clinic) in Norfolk, Suffolk, we want one in Hampton and Newport News,” said Johnson.

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At the Portsmouth clinic, doctors and nurses will be able to see three to four patients an hour Johnson said.

“We’ve been very blessed that (in-home health care) business has gone very well and what you’re seeing now is us really invest those proceeds and some of the federal program money into bringing this clinic to life,” explained Nansemond Tribe Council Member David Darling.

Darling added the clinic is creating a lot of excitement among tribal members.

“To be honest, if you look into the history of Virginia tribes their federal recognition has only come in the last handful of years,” said Darling. “There’s just been a tremendous shift in the mindset of our members who used to just be members and are now citizens of something. For them to now see programs starting to take off and come to life, not just helping them but helping their community members, there’s a lot of excitement. I think that excitement’s going to continue to grow when they get to come here and see it.”

A big project expected to have a big impact.

As of Monday, phase one of the clinic was expected to open in December 2023 and then the second and final phase was expected to open in April of 2024.

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