In conjunction with the Outer Banks Community Foundation and the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau, WOBX has launched “Builders and Shapers: Nonprofits for a Greater Outer Banks” a weekly series featuring the nonprofits that serve our area. They share details about how they are working to make northeastern North Carolina and the Outer Banks a better place to live, work and play.
Healthcare on the Outer Banks has long been one of the biggest challenges of living here, with those challenges becoming even more magnified over the past year.
And while more providers have been stepping in to fill some of the gaps, one constant for more than a decade has been the services provided by the Community Care Clinic of Dare County.
Located at the end of Health Center Drive, off Barnes Street in Nags Head, the Community Care Clinic of Dare County provides basic healthcare, medication assistance, and wellness education for financially challenged, uninsured persons living or working in Dare County.
Lynn Jenkins is the executive director, and was our guest on the WOBX Podcast in January to talk about the clinic. For this week’s “Builders and Shapers”, she shares how the clinic operates and updates on their latest initiatives:
Community Care Clinic of Dare serves adults ages 18+ who have no insurance or are “underinsured”, those with only Medicaid Family Planning or those with catastrophic insurance plans that don’t cover primary care.
They show proof that they live or work in Dare County. They qualify by having household income at or below 300 percent FPL.
We also serve Medicare patients who meet our income eligibility but don’t have Medicare Part D – we help these folks with expensive brand name medications by facilitating access to pharmaceutical companies’ patient assistance programs.
Some of our latest initiatives include:
- We just opened our new on-site pharmacy. The pharmacy will be able to order Vivitrol for uninsured adults – a 28-day injectable naltrexone used as Medication Assisted Treatment for opioid and alcohol use disorders. Our nurses, nurse practitioner, and medical director are trained to provide Vivitrol. It is not offered anywhere else in the area. The beauty of Vivitrol is after 4-15 months, depending on the patient/counseling plan, the patient becomes substance-free and does not need a daily opioid alternative medication. Also with the pharmacy, we will now be able to access INSULINS for our many undocumented patients. Our pharmacist provides one-on-one consultations, medication reconciliations, and counseling.
- Contractors are submitting bids for the new safety-net dental clinic we are integrating into our facility. We will become the only medical-dental integrated clinic in the county. We are recruiting a dental staff currently. Our goal is to serve an additional 1,500 adults the first year. The clinic will open in late spring/early summer 2023.
- We just launched a program called, Employers 4 CARE. This is a simple, local, healthcare solution for local businesses employing uninsured or underinsured adults. The business makes a tax-deductible donation to the clinic. Then, any eligible current employees can establish care at the clinic, & their administrative annual fee is waived. It’s a win-win-win!
- We now offer retinal eye screenings through a partnership with Wagner Macula and Retina Center. Patients with diabetes are screened annually. The nurses take pictures of their retina with a very sensitive camera called the EYENUK then images are transmitted to the specialists at Wagner M&RC. Patients are able to receive follow-up treatment through a financial assistance program with Wagner. Already, we’ve had patients that are receiving treatment so they will not have premature blindness related to diabetes.
- Our RN Educator is now certified in Culinary Medicine. She meets with patients for individualized education sessions. Most patients are referred for abnormal BMIs, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and other chronic diseases. Our goal is to improve patients’ BMIs, A1c results (diabetes), blood pressures (hypertension), smoking cessation, and other wellness initiatives.
- We have Spanish interpreters on-site every day and have the VOYCE interpretation service in 220+ languages. Every person communicates in their preferred language!
- Our Syringe Services Program is expanding – increasing harm reduction in the community.
- Cancer screenings are happening at the clinic – oropharyngeal cancer screening, colorectal cancer screening.
Learn more about the Community Care Clinic of Dare County, including how you can assist them financially or with your talents, at https://www.dareclinic.org/.
To learn more about how to support many of the nonprofits helping to “Build and Shape” the Greater Outer Banks, visit the Outer Banks Community Foundation website.