Health center celebrates 12 years of service

Published 6:36 pm Wednesday, August 10, 2016

ENGELHARD — This week marks National Health Center Week, and one Hyde County practice is taking time to celebrate.

Engelhard Medical Center, located off of U.S. Highway 264 across from Martelle’s Feed House, hosted its first Customer Appreciation Day on Wednesday to celebrate its 12 years of service to the community.

Previously a private, nonprofit clinic, it became a federally qualified health center in 2013, and is now receiving federal funds to help serve uninsured and low-income populations, according to Chief Executive Officer Cheryl Ballance.

National Health Center Week has been recognized for about 30 years, but this is the first year since its 2013 designation that Engelhard Medical has had time to plan an event.

“While there are countless reasons to celebrate America’s health centers, among the most important and unique is their long success in providing access to affordable, high-quality, cost-effective health care to medically vulnerable and underserved people throughout the United States,” the NHC website stated.

Ballance said becoming a health center has helped Engelhard Medical to stay viable in and able to assist the surrounding community.

“The clinic’s been in operation since 2004, but it’s been a long struggle with, you know, the changes in insurance reimbursement, Medicare and Medicaid,” she said. “Community health centers have a reputation of being able to provide quality care when the patients need it.”

Ballance said the center offers family medicine, physical exams, management of chronic illnesses and monitoring medications. It has a sister practice in Ocracoke.

She said the hope is to expand the center’s services in years to come, as well as receive its designation as a patient-centered medical home.

“We’re just very grateful for the community’s support,” Ballance said. “We’ve been very fortunate.”

Engelhard Medical Center is located at 33270 U.S. Highway 264, Engelhard. National Health Center Week runs Aug. 7-13.