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Dowagiac nurse practitioner to open primary care facility

DOWAGIAC — A local nurse practitioner is gearing up to open a new primary care facility in Dowagiac, all for the love of health.

Nadzieja Pocheki, FNP-BC, owner of For the Love of Health Family Health Center, 412 Gray St., is hosting a grand opening reception for the facility from 2 to 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1.

The reception will feature refreshments and cookies provided by The Baker’s Rhapsody, 144 S. Front St. as well as a tour of the clinic.

For the Love of Health will open at 7 a.m. Monday, Oct. 4 for its first day of operation. The health center will accept most insurances, have a sliding fee scale as well as a direct payment care plan or “subscription” plan to allow people flexibility with paying for health services.

“We are very excited about this clinic and the prospect of partnering with the community members in Dowagiac for overall health,” Pocheki said.

A longtime resident and health care worker in Dowagiac, Pocheki was inspired to open her own health center after experiencing the impact the pandemic has had on community members and the health care system. According to Pocheki, the clinic aims to provide accessible and affordable care to all the citizens in the community. 

“I’ve worked both in primary care and ER,” Pocheki said. “The picture I put together from the ER has made me realize primary care is an intrical part of moving people towards wellness and health instead of treating illness. Our broken healthcare system has been magnified by its inability to manage the pandemic effectively.”

Pocheki began researching and discovered that many community members were uninsured and not getting health needs met. After negotiations with the city in the spring, Pocheki purchased the 412 Gray St. building from the city in April for $100.

“She has come in over the last couple of months asking about what kind of properties were available,” Anderson said during a March city council meeting. The more we talked, the more it sounded like this property could be a potential use. The idea of having a clinic that can serve the needs of the community and help keep the cost down sounded good to us.”

Since then, Pocheki has been hard at work getting the space ready for use. Each clinic room has a different color theme, and each room’s cabinetry has been provided by OH MY Old Made New, 206 Front St. Pocheki said the space has room for expansion if needed.

“[Kevin Anderson] and Mayor Don Lyons were here,” Pocheki said. “Mr. Lyons’ first question to me was ‘what is your plan for expansion?’. .. He said I am going to outgrow the current set-up very quickly because this facility is something the community has needed for quite a while. It’s exciting, scary and all of those wonderful feelings.”

Branching out and becoming a small business owner has been challenging for Pocheki but for her, the positive response she has received from the community have made the challenges worth it.

“It’s been a little scary, the unknown,” she said. “Knowing I will no longer have a comfortable income I’m used to is a little bit scary. But every time I get to that scary point where I’m like ‘I don’t want to do this,’ something wonderful happens like the man next door coming over and saying they can’t wait for us to open. I’m reminded of why I’m moving forward, why I’m going to keep going and why this is important. Keeping my eye on the mission has helped me focus during those scary times.”

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