Piedmont Health Services has opened its 10th community health center at 1828 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Chapel Hill to provide primary care medical services. The Chapel Hill Community Health Center opened in December 2015 and is already seeing about 100 patients a month.This newest facility was badly needed, according to Piedmont Health CEO Brian Toomey. “We’re excited because we haven’t been able to see all of the people in our community who needed care at our Carrboro site,” Toomey said. “The demand exceeded the supply, but now we’re able to take care of all the people who really need us.”
Employees at the new center, with corporate office support, have been busy reaching out to the community to make sure they know it is there. For instance, Site Director Me’Shall Poole, RN, the front desk patient care coordinator, Paquita Burnette, Dr. Jessica Barnhill and a few corporate staff members recently participated in a four community outreach events promoting the new health center. They also have visited businesses in the area to invite them to stop by. The corporate office has been reaching out to the Chapel Hill Carrboro Chamber of Commerce business community, local neighborhoods, churches and Hillsborough businesses.
Already, employees at the Chapel Hill location are seeing some traction. Workers in the neighboring business, Molly Maids, were happy to learn that the community health center accepts all forms of health insurance. It also has a sliding fee scale based on income and serves all patients regardless of ability to pay. Molly Maids doesn’t offer insurance so this is a big benefit for them, said Poole. Molly Maids already has sent workers to the new health center, she said.
Yesenia Morales, the hostess at Rasa Indi-Chinese, a restaurant next to the center, was happy that staff stopped in to give restaurant employees information about the new center. “It will be helpful for a lot of people here to know,” Morales said, adding: “They are good neighbors.”
The local community is excited about the community health center being located there, said Poole, and drop-ins frequently come by to see what’s going on. The center is now operating three of its nine exam room with plans to maximize its offerings within the year. In January, the center had 30 patients, in February, 60, and by March, it was seeing 100 patients a month.
Poole said once the center is at capacity, it will see 1,000 patients a month and will add two or three more medical providers to the two who already are employed there. It also will add two to three medical assistants.
The center has been a dream of Piedmont’s for some time. A grant provided the funding for a needs assessment for a health center in the neighborhood, and once the need was established, planning began.
Hamlett and Associates of Climax, N.C. renovated an office that had been an eye doctor’s office. The renovation took about a month, said Poole.
The exam rooms are equipped with all the features needed to do a complete medical exam. The office has a lab and a sunny large receptionist area where Burnette greets them with a smile and friendly hellos.
“Now all we need is to see more patients,” said Lead Provider Sarah Woodruff, FNP, who shares medical responsibilities with Dr. Jessica Barnhill.
The Chapel Hill Community Health Center accepts most forms of insurance including Medicaid, Medicare, Blue Cross-Blue Shield although with the sliding fee scale. To schedule an appointment, call us at (919) 951-7600. The center’s hours are 8:00 am -5:00 Monday – Friday with medical staff on call 24 hours/day. The center uses the Carrboro Community Health Center’s pharmacy to fill many prescriptions.