Claymont Family Health Services

Claymont Family Health Services

doctor examing patient
John Carroll relies on Dr. Heather Bittner-Fagan and the affordable health care at Claymont Family Health Services for his primary care.

Brandywine Hundred residents Judy Ruditys and her significant other John Carroll, both 58, wouldn’t be able to visit a doctor or receive any regular medical care if not for some dedicated volunteers from Christiana Care.

The couple relies on Claymont Family Health Services for regular checkups, routine tests, treatment of minor illnesses and everyday medical advice. Judy is a cancer survivor and requires regular follow-up care. John, a diabetic, copes with many serious illnesses related to the disease.

Since 1992, Claymont Family Health Services has provided affordable access to health care for the underinsured and uninsured residents of Claymont and surrounding Brandywine Hundred. Located at the Claymont Community Center on Green Street, the clinic’s success depends largely on the charitable efforts of volunteer medical professionals from Christiana Care and 30 other collaborating organizations.

“These dedicated medical professionals have served thousands of patients,” says Claymont Family Health Services Medical Services Coordinator Sue Cropper, RN. “Since the program’s inception, they have provided more than 10,000 hours of volunteer medical services. Five of our physicians have been seeing patients since we opened our doors.”

Medical Director Heather Bittner-Fagan, M.D., a member of Christiana Care’s Family Medicine Center at Foulk Road agrees. “Community-based clinics like this one are vitally important—many patients we see have diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure that are controllable by treating the risk factors. Claymont Family Health Services gives us a chance to see patients like Judy and John and consistently care for them so their conditions don’t worsen.”

The clinic, which is funded by state contracts and grants, offers affordable care to about 60 patients a week. In addition to providing patients with general exams, blood pressure screenings, physicals, women’s health services, dermatology, adult and child immunizations and referrals to specialists, the clinic serves as a gateway to a wide range of social service and educational referrals for people without insurance.

“If it wasn’t for Dr. Bittner-Fagan and the other nice people here, I might not ever have had the tests that detected my cervical cancer … I may not be alive today,” says Judy, who has been cancer free for more than three years. “Everyone here is so warm and professional—they’re like family and without them, John and I would have nowhere else to turn for our health care.”

Outstanding volunteers

In 2007, these 22 volunteer physicians and a family nurse practitioner received the Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Award in the health category for their service at Claymont Family Health Services:

  • Heather Bittner-Fagan, M.D. (medical director)
  • Paul Alfieri, M.D.
  • Robert Brereton, M.D.
  • Daniel DePietropaolo, M.D.
  • Lennard Fagraeus, M.D.
  • Gina Freeman, D.P.M.
  • Robert Frelick, M.D.
  • James Gill, M.D.
  • Bernard King, D.O.
  • Frederick Lahvis, M.D.
  • Lawrence Markman, M.D.
  • Carol Kerrigan-Moore, FNP
  • Dinesh Nayak, M.D.
  • Patt E. Panzer, M.D.
  • Stephen Permut, M.D.
  • Edward M. Phillips, D.O.
  • Charles S. Riegel, M.D.
  • Lee Schacter, M.D.
  • Joan K. Short, M.D.
  • Bryan Simmons, M.D.
  • Keith Sokoloff, D.O.
  • Thomas Weir, M.D.
  • Dennis Witmer, M.D.