The concept of the Community Care Clinic began in the early 2000s when Drs. Jack Whitlock and Marye Hacker recognized that a growing number of people in our area needed critical health care services but couldn’t afford the cost of insurance. To address the gap, Dr. Whitlock and Marian Peters, P.A., began treating patients from the back of a station wagon in 2005. Eventually, conversations with concerned members of the community led to a plan for a donor-funded free clinic that would be managed by volunteers and overseen by a volunteer Board of Directors.
With start-up and matching-fund grants from Blue Cross/BlueShield Foundation, the North Carolina Office of Rural Health, and local donors, the plan came to fruition. The clinic moved into its current location, formerly the Hannah Building, at 141 Health Center Drive, and the first patient was seen in May 2006. In 2007 the Clinic was granted 501(c)(3) non-profit status and became a member of the North Carolina Association of Free and Charitable Clinics. It would not be long before the clinic was able to integrate counseling, chiropractic, and acupuncture services to the primary healthcare setting. A salaried Executive Director and a clinical manager were recruited in 2009. Dr. Whitlock continues to volunteer as Medical Director, with oversight of all medical operations.
By 2010, the Clinic had expanded operations to 40 hours per week and, through the generosity of volunteer specialists, had added services such as dermatology, gynecology, neurology, orthopedics, and physical therapy. In recent years, the Clinic added a satellite location in Sugar Grove, NC, and formed a strong relationship with the Hospitality House to serve vulnerable populations who often encounter barriers to accessing healthcare services. In 2017, the clinic saw 1160 patients with 5617 patient visits.
Today, the Community Care Clinic partners with ASU’s Department of Social Work and Department of Nutrition and Healthcare Management as a placement site for undergraduate student interns, and also serves as a preceptor site for Physician Assistant (PA) students from several surrounding schools. The Clinic is a collaborative community partner that aspires to broaden patient programs and services, and to look at the social determinants that affect the health of our community.
The Clinic has gained the confidence of patients, individual donors, local and state funding, and over a hundred volunteers. Together, we continue to help ensure that integrated, high-quality health care is available to all the uninsured members of our community who need it.