Grant will help improve access to health care

Published 12:56 am Tuesday, January 11, 2022

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Access East, Inc. recently announced it has been awarded a four-year, $795,000 grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Rural Health Care Services Outreach program. Access East, in partnership with Vidant Beaufort Hospital, a campus of Vidant Medical Center, along with the Beaufort County Health Department and Agape Community Health Services, have established the Beaufort County Rural Health Outreach Consortium. The consortium partners will implement the Rural Health Access Program with a focus to improve access to care and care coordination in Beaufort County.

The consortium is committed to establishing a stronger health network for all residents of Beaufort County. The goals of the program are to increase access to care, improve self-management of chronic disease, connect residents to needed resources and decrease emergency department usage for non-acute/emergent care by connecting residents to a primary care provider.

Vidant Beaufort Hospital offers a mobile wellness unit – the Community Health Improvement Coach – that will travel to locations throughout Beaufort County offering free health and wellness screenings. The goal is to provide much needed screenings in rural communities in hopes of catching chronic disease in the earliest stages.

The rural health access program also provides a community health worker and benefits advocate who will be a vital asset to those enrolled in the program serving as a liaison between health/social services and participants to facilitate access to supportive services and primary care providers. Program enrollees will receive health education, case management services, and link program participants to services to address social determinants of health.

“Our programs at Access East have strengthened the resources to improve health service delivery for the past 20 years throughout eastern North Carolina,” said Shantell Cheek, director of uninsured programs for Access East and director for rural health access program. “We are looking forward to seeing the impact this program and its related services will have to improve the health and quality of life for the residents of Beaufort County.”