EAST PALESTINE, Ohio — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced on Friday that the Ohio Department of Health and United States Department of Health and Human Services are establishing a medical clinic for the East Palestine community.
The announcement comes two weeks after a train derailment that has left many residents worried about their health following a controlled release of vinyl chloride from five derailed train cars.
The clinic, which could be open as early as Monday, will do the following:
Engage with residents
Answer their questions
Provide medical expertise
Give residents access to the best experts in the world in regard to chemical exposure
“We are doing this because we know the concern that has been expressed by so many residents,” said Gov. DeWine.
“Residents deserve an answer. They have suffered a great deal. This has been a traumatic time for them. This has been a horrific train derailment. We have some understanding of what they’ve gone through. We have asked for medical experts from the Department of Health and Human Services to come to East Palestine. This request has now been granted by HHS. We are now going to establish in the next several days, a clinic in East Palestine. This is a clinic that will be established by the Ohio Department of Health. We will get assistance and help from HHS. We want them to be able to engage with the residents of East Palestine. We want them to be able to answer the residents’ questions, evaluate symptoms and provide their medical expertise. The people who will come in – and we expect them in early next week – will also have access to the best experts in the world in regard to chemical exposures. Again, we are doing this because we know the concern that has been expressed by so many of the residents.”
DeWine noted that he wanted to create the clinic in order to make sure that residents who did not have health insurance or a primary care doctor had somewhere to go to voice their health concerns.
“We also know that many medical providers in that area would really value support from medical experts deeply knowledgeable on how to address questions people have related to their concerns of potential exposure," said Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff.
They plan to begin seeing patients early next week. Information on the clinic’s location and hours will be listed at ema.ohio.gov/eastpalestine once those details become available.
During Friday's press conference, Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Lori Criss also encouraged residents to pay attention to their mental health. Mental health resources will also be available HERE.