Craven commissioners approve $82,000 in startup funds

The Craven County commissioners unanimously gave their approval Monday morning for $82,000 in startup funds for a new Havelock satellite medical clinic, set to open in mid-April.

Health Director Scott Harrelson told the board that renovations of a space to house the clinic are on schedule to meet an April 17 deadline, associated with a two-year, $650,000 annual federal grant.

The startup funds will cover staff and equipment. He said $159,000 from grant funds will cover other local expenditures.

Harrelson said the clinic goal is 3,000 patients, with two health providers.

The Federally Qualified Health Center will join an existing Craven County Health Department facility in New Bern. The similar facility is also federally funded.

In early January, the Craven board approved the grant and a lease agreement for a 4,000-square-foot site in the Westbrooke Shopping Center.

The county will pay $80,000 annually to lease the building, which includes money for the medical outfitting of the building space. That expense can be paid for through the grant money.

The new facility also will include the relocated WIC Cherry Point clinic for women.

It will have in-house labs, assistance with pharmaceutical needs, links to inpatient care and access to adult and pediatric dentistry.

The Havelock facility will serve a population that doesn’t have a health care provider, or that has no insurance or marginal insurance coverage, along with those with high deductibles.

It will serve residents of Havelock, Harlowe and eastern Craven County who have to make long drives to the health department in New Bern.

The Havelock clinic was one of 75 such medical centers approved nationwide.

Another health department item has to do with state funding for a one-time minority diabetes prevention program.

Craven has partnered with Pitt County to provide an evidenced-based diabetes prevention program.

The Craven County Health Department will offer community screenings and diabetes programs that are designed to help citizens make realistic and achievable lifestyle changes.

That includes a year-long class that will work with people who are pre-diabetic, according the Jennifer Blackmon, the department’s deputy director.

She said county health staff has already contacted a number of local African-American churches about potential participants.

Commissioners were told there is sufficient interest to fill the grant requirements of a minimum of 30 people signing up and at least 15 participants to maintain the program.

There will be a one-time $25 fee for participants, although scholarships are available on a need basis, with a $5 fee.

Pitt County will reimburse Craven County for employee hours related directly to the program. CCHD must subscribe to a data subscription service database to track participant and program data.

The board was told that 86 million Americans have pre-diabetes and most don’t know it. The African-American population numbers are even higher and more at-risk.