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Guilford County’s Public-Private Health Center Partnership

Friday, June 9, 2017  
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Guilford County’s Public-Private Health Center Partnership

Submitted by: Merle Green, Guilford County (NC)

Guilford County Department of Public Health is in its 7th year of a very successful public-private partnership to provide primary health care services to local adults.  Adults who are uninsured, low income or underinsured now have a medical home that is making a huge difference in southeast Greensboro.

The center is named the Evans-Blount Community Health Center, and is named after two local and prominent African American doctors who dedicated their medical practices to servicing underserved communities in Guilford County.  Dr. Evans and Doctor Blount were trailblazers in the Guilford medical community.

Recently, the Primary Care clinic expanded to include Behavioral Health services, creating a cutting edge model of Integrated health service for the adult population.  Onsite physicians, psychiatrists, social workers, nurses, and various behavioral health and medical staff combine their efforts to provide comprehensive physical health and mental health services for the population.

Guilford County began the clinic with $400,000.00 of public and private funding; including renovations to a former dialysis center, and medical equipment purchased with a grant from the NC Primary Care Assn. 

Prior to the opening of the clinic, the target area documented high incidences of undiagnosed and untreated chronic conditions, inappropriate usage of the local hospital emergency departments, and death rates higher than the national average.  They knew that their zip code was more critical than their genetic code.

Since the clinic has been in operation, 65% of patients in the catchment area who previously reported unmanaged chronic conditions now report that their conditions are being managed and their number of days of “being sick” has drastically reduced.  The local emergency department also reports that most of the targeted most frequent misusers of the emergency department have drastically reduced their visits to the ED.

The health department sponsors health fairs, disease management programs, patient education, and other supportive events and services at the clinic in order to assist the partnering agency in reaching the goals of the clinic.  One of the most widely promoted patient success stories was the patient who lost over 100 pounds, and was able to discontinue her hypertension and diabetes medication; her message to the community was “without this clinic and the help of the doctor, I was destined for an early grave.”