nonprofit Community Care Clinic of Dare, which provides free basic
health care to Dare County residents who are uninsured or can't
otherwise afford it was the topic of the Radio Hatteras interview show,
"To the Point," on Sunday, April 3.
The show's three guests who
discussed how the clinic operates and who is eligible included Rick
Gray, the executive director, and two Hatteras islanders who work at
the clinic in Frisco. They are Dr. Jamie Fountain of Outer Banks
Family Medicine in Avon, a volunteer, and registered nurse Pam Donahue.
clinic has operated in Dare County, including Hatteras Island, since
2005. It was founded by a partnership of the Albemarle Hospital
Foundation, the Outer Banks Hospital, and the Dare County Department of
Today, Gray said, that the clinic is supported
mostly by grants, though it still receives some public funding from
Dare County and some of the county's municipalities.
has two full-time paid staff members -- Gray and a family nurse
practitioner, whose salary is paid by a grant. There are also a
few paid, part-time staff members, such as Donahue, who works at each
of the weekly Hatteras clinics.
The rest of the clinic's staff
are volunteer physicians and health care professionals, such as
Fountain. Dr. Bentley Crabtree of Outer Banks Family Medicine in Avon
also has volunteered since the beginning and Gray said he has been an
integral and avid supporter of the clinic. Crabtree is taking time off
this year from the clinic while he pursues further medical education --
though he is still full-time in the Avon medical center.
clinic also has -- and needs -- many volunteers who do not have
medical training who fill such roles as receptionists, clerical
helpers, and interpreters for patients who speak a foreign language.
Community Care Clinic serves people between the ages of 18 and 64 who
live and/or work in Dare County and have no health insurance and low or
moderate household incomes. Since its inception, Gray said, the clinic
has seen 3,200 patients -- 475 of them on Hatteras Island.
about 80 patients are being seen in the Frisco clinic, many of them for
chronic conditions for which they need to be under a doctor's care. At
least, two-thirds of the patients have at least one chronic disease,
Fountain said the patients she sees have such medical
conditions as diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma or COPD and need
long-term monitoring. For these patients, she said, the clinic
provides care they could otherwise not afford -- such as regular
laboratory testing and medical supplies.
The clinic can also help patients obtain prescription medications, though it dispenses no controlled substances.
said the clinic can provide basic, non-emergency medical care and some
specialty care referrals. The clinic cannot provide urgent or
emergency care, obstetrical and gynecological services, or pediatric
care. It also does not provide mental or behavioral health care,
though it can make referrals to agencies that do.
important role the clinic fulfills, both Donahue and Fountain noted, is
in the area of wellness education -- helping patients get better and
Patients must apply to be cared for at the clinic
and provide information that helps staff members assure that they meet
the guidelines for the free treatment. Qualifying, Donahue said,
typically takes two to three weeks.
Information on eligibility,
applications, and appointments is available by calling the clinic at
252-75-9329. Or you can stop by during clinic hours at the
county's administration building in Frisco. Clinics are scheduled
for Tuesday evenings from 6 until 9 p.m. More information is available
on the Community Care Clinic's website, www.dareclinic.org.
says that even though the clinic has been around for 11 years and
facilitates about $1.5 million in free medical care and medication each
year, it struggles with a visibility problem in the community.
he said, offer information at health fairs, stores, and church and
community events, but people he said are always saying, "We've never
heard about you."
One of the clinic's current priorities, he said, it to reach out to the community's ever-growing Hispanic population.
clinic also is always in need of financial support and
volunteers. You can volunteer your time whether you have had
medical training or not, and you can go to the website to donate.
Fountain says she volunteers for several reasons.
allows me to use my skills to give back to my community," she says.
"But, it is also personally fulfilling to me...It's more basic
medicine....Just you, the patient, and a piece of paper."
To listen to the interview on the Community Care Clinic, scroll down to the "To the Point" logo and click on the arrow.
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.
MORE ABOUT RADIO HATTERAS
Radio Hatteras is Hatteras Island's community, non-profit radio station and depends on grants, memberships, and underwriting.
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
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.
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.