In order to establish a partnership with the Tazwood Center for Wellness in Pekin, Heartland Health Services has set up a new facility in Pekin. The new clinic will share a building with Tazwood.

The staff of Heartland and Tazwood came together to celebrate the opening of the new facility Monday with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

“This is a great day because (the new Heartland Clinic) provides continuing care far beyond what we have right now,” said Tazwood Chief Executive Officer Dave Mingus. “I’m really excited about the possibilities we have before us with this partnership.”

According to Heartland Chief Medical Officer Dr. Gregg Stoner, Heartland began its service to central Illinois by opening a free clinic in Peoria in 1991. The Peoria facility was staffed primarily by volunteers, with only one paid full-time employee. The clinic’s mission was to provide care for the working poor in central Illinois.

“It had great support from the Peoria Medical Society and the local hospitals and provided that care for 13 years,” said Stoner. “It was hard to recruit enough volunteer doctors and nurses and fund all the medications the patients needed.”

In 2004, Heartland became a federally designated community health center, said Heartland Health Services Chief Executive Officer Sharon Adams. With the opening of the new clinic, Heartland has grown from the original clinic in Peoria to five Peoria branches and two Pekin facilities. Its targeted population continues to be low-income adults and children as well as uninsured, medically indigent and homeless people in Peoria, Tazewell and Woodford counties.

“We’re growing and we’re very excited to be growing here in Pekin,” Adams said during the ribbon cutting event. “At this location, in partnership with Tazwood, we’re going to be providing primary care services from child to adult. We’re also going to be doing medication assisted therapy. As all of you know, there’s an opioid crisis out there, and we hope to do our part with that and help people overcome their addictions.”

Pekin City Manager Mark Rothert was on hand for the ceremony and expressed his optimism that the partnership between Tazwood and Heartland will increase the availability of quality health care in Pekin.

“As a city, we’re very fortunate to have organizations and businesses that keep wanting to reinvest in our community, especially to address access to health services and issues like opioid addiction,” he said. “On behalf of the mayor and City Council, I want to say thank you and we’re looking forward to a good partnership.”

Dan Pfeifer, president of the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce, read a proclamation designating June 3, 2019, as Heartland Health Services Day and urged Pekin’s residents and business community to properly recognize the event’s significance.

Adams officially opened the facility by cutting the ceremonial ribbon with the traditional oversized scissors. Refreshments were served and those in attendance were invited to tour the clinic.

Heartland’s new Pekin clinic is located at 3248 Van de Ver Ave. The other Pekin facility is located at 2709 Broadway St. Hours of operation for both facilities are from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.