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Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star

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Dr. Timothy Powell would like your vote

Dr. Timothy Powell

Notices are posted throughout Dr. Timothy Powell’s office, declaring “Exciting News!” and urging patients to “Vote Now!”

The handbills explain that Powell is a finalist in an online contest sponsored by Earth’s Best, the maker of baby products. “One of our patients nominated us,” he said.

Powell, board certified in pediatrics and internal medicine, is one of 11 doctors in the country featured in the company’s “Peds Doing Good Deeds” contest. The physician who gets the most online votes by the Jan. 31 deadline earns $5,000 for his or her favorite charity.

Powell’s favorite cause, understandably, is the Fredericksburg Christian Health Center, which he founded in 2003. The Spotsylvania County clinic is one of a handful of places in the region where the poor can get free or reduced-price medical care. About 60 percent of the clinic’s patients are insured, Powell said. These patients and the donors who support his clinic fund the care for the poor.

The online contest, and the possibility of its cash prize, comes at an opportune time. Last month Powell had to close the clinic to new patients when the number of applicants became overwhelming.

“It was going to be three or four months before we were going to be able to see the people that were applying so we had cut things off for now,” he said.

The rush of new patients and partial closing followed similar happenings at the Lloyd F. Moss Free Clinic in Fredericksburg. Moss Clinic officials decided in November to close to new patients after being overwhelmed by applicants. Moss hopes to gradually reopen to new patients, beginning Feb. 1, said Karen Dulaney, executive director.

As for Powell, he’s not sure when he’ll reopen his clinic to new patients. A lot will depend on the fund-raising, he said.

(You can vote for Powell in the Earth’s Best contest here. His clinic’s website is here.)