January 18, 2016
Dare County Home Health is topic of radio show

Dare County's Home Health program was the subject of discussion on Sunday, Jan. 17, on the Radio Hatteras Interview show, "To the Point," hosted by Island Free Press editor Irene Nolan.

The guest for the interview was Holly Meekins, unit director of Dare Home Health and Dare Hospice, which is a division of the county's Department of Public Health and under the umbrella of the county's Department of Health and Human Services.

Meekins discussed the services that the agency provides to patients in their home, including disease management and education, post-surgical wound care, IV infusion, physical, occupational, and speech therapy, social services, and nutrition.

The non-profit agency, Meekins said, was formed in the mid-1970s in response to the need and the geography of Dare County.

The county -- and thus the patients served -- are spread out over a wide geographical area, meaning fewer patient visits than some private, for-profit agencies require.  However, as Meekins noted, Dare's Board of Commissioners has continued to support the home health agency, even if it doesn't always break even financially.

This is especially important to those of us on Hatteras Island, where travel to health care providers is time-consuming and, at times, challenging and precarious.

Meekins said that Dare Home Health nurses and therapists have traveled on the emergency ferry from Stumpy Point to Rodanthe to see patients when necessary.

Last year, Meekins said, Dare Home Health served 107 patients on Hatteras Island.  Most -- but not all -- were Medicare patients.  Meekins said the agency helps patients of all ages and those covered by Medicare or Medicaid and private insurance.  Dare Home Health, she said, also serves patients with no insurance, who pay on a sliding scale.

"People don't stay in hospitals as long as they used to," Meekins says. "They come home and continue their recovery there."

Those are the folks, she said, who may require nursing or therapy services at home.  Patients must be referred by a physician. Once a patient is admitted to Dare Home Health, services are available 24/7.  Most times, Meekins said, services are available for a limited time, until they are recovered or their goals are met.

In 2015, for the second year in a row, Dare Home Health has been awarded HomeCare Elite status.  HomeCare Elite is an annual compilation of the most successful home care providers in the U.S. It is compiled by the National Research Corporation and DecisionHealth, using public data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.

The methodology included analysis of such things as quality of care, quality improvement, patient experience, and financial performance. The top 25 percent of agencies received recognition.

Information on Dare County Home Health is available on the county website, www.darenc.com.  Click on Departments at the top of the page.  If you  have questions, you can contact Holly Meekins at [email protected]m or 252-475-5030.

"To the Point" airs on the island's community radio station, FM 101.5 , at 5 p.m. on the first and third Sunday of each month.  It is repeated on the second and fourth Sunday. Those who don't live on Hatteras can listen to the show on Sundays through live streaming at www.radiohatteras.org.

Scroll down and click on the appropriate "To the Point" logo to listen to the audio of the interview.


Radio Hatteras is our community, non-profit radio station and depends on grants, memberships, and underwriting.

It broadcasts around the clock with news -- including such things as surfing and fishing reports -- community announcements, music, and special programs. The station is also now streamed live. To listen, go to www.radiohatteras.org.

Our community radio station also needs your support, and you can give that by purchasing a membership or by underwriting the station if you are a business or another community non-profit.

Radio Hatteras memberships are $50 for a family, $25 for an individual and $10 for a student. Mail memberships and other contributions to Radio Hatteras, P.O. Box 339, Frisco, NC 27936.

E-mail [email protected] or call (252) 995-6000 for information about underwriting opportunities.

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