Need a COVID rapid test to return to work? Need to show a negative PCR test before you board a plane next week? Do you want a COVID vaccine?

Rural Health Network can do all that, plus provide primary medical and dental care from its offices on North Roosevelt Boulevard in Key West. 

For those who have long heard of Rural Health Network, but never known precisely what it does, here’s a quick refresher: 

Rural Health Network is a nonprofit medical and dental care provider that opened in Key West in 1993. It operates a “comprehensive, culturally competent, high-quality health care center in the Lower Keys,” states the center’s brand new website at rhnmc.org. “In addition to providing primary health care, it operates a dental clinic and integrates access to pharmacy, behavioral health referrals and substance abuse services.”

“We’ll also soon be launching our Keyswide mobile dental and medical coach that will provide access to health and dental services throughout the county,” said Elizabeth Baker, the network’s marketing and outreach specialist. 

The mobile coach will be staffed with a nurse practitioner, physician assistant, registered nurse, adult and pediatric dentist, dental hygienist, and dental assistant. 

“Our goal is to break down transportation barriers between people and access to healthcare while treating all patients with dignity and respect,” Baker said, adding that Rural Health Network accepts most major insurance plans, along with Medicaid, Medicare and TriCare. For those with no insurance, fees are calculated according to a sliding scale of income.

The less you earn, the less you pay. The network asks uninsured patients to bring a month’s worth of pay stubs or last year’s tax return as proof of income.

“We have an in-house lab and ultrasound machine,” Baker said. “We host free monthly nutrition classes and our new website has information in English, Spanish, Russian, French and Haitian Creole.

“With September being Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, we’ll be offering free prostate screenings, and for Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, we’ll be doing free breast exams, and offering free mammograms to uninsured women,” Baker said. “We really want people to know that we’re here for their medical and dental needs, whatever their insurance situation.”

As for COVID testing and vaccines, Rural Health Network offers the Moderna vaccine for free by appointment. 

COVID rapid tests are $90 with results available in 15 minutes. For people exhibiting COVID symptoms, the more complex PCR tests are available for free while grant funding lasts.

“But many airlines are requiring a negative PCR test before travel,” Baker said. “For people without symptoms who need a PCR test to travel, there is a $100 fee, but they need to plan in advance, because those results take three to five business days.”

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Mandy Miles drops stuff, breaks things and falls down more than any adult should. She's married to a saintly — and handy — fisherman, and has been stringing words together in Key West since 1998.