Community Care Clinic receives $20,000 CVS grant for smoking-cessation class
By Mark Wineka
SALISBURY — Mary Repsher did the math recently.
The 27 people who have successfully stopped smoking with help of the Community Care Clinic of Rowan County have saved a total of $60,000, represented by the 9,855 packs and 197,000 cigarettes they did not purchase.
Repsher is the volunteer facilitator who heads the eight-week smoking cessation classes for the Community Care Clinic, located at 315 Mocksville Ave.
“She is just a fabulous friend and colleague, a facilitator who follows up with them,” Executive Director Krista Woolly said of Repsher.
Woolly added that the classes, started in 2015, “have really exceeded our expectations.”
The Community Care Clinic recently received word that it has been awarded a $20,000 grant from the CVS Health Foundation and National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics (NAFC) to help continue the classes.
Woolly said Thursday the main expenses for the program are patches used for the smokers’ nicotine replacement therapy.
Most of the class participants opt to use a patch — they are not required — in conjunction with the eight weeks of classroom discussion, which follows the Freedom from Smoking format of the American Lung Association.
The program for some of the participants can sometimes extend up to 12 weeks, depending on how long they need the clinic’s help in providing the nicotine patch. The clinic’s pharmacist works with the smokers.
While an average success rate for this kind of smoking cessation class is 30 percent, “we are at 50 percent,” Woolly said. She credits Repsher with a lot of that success in keeping in touch with the participants and being as flexible as possible in having mutually agreeable class meeting times.
It was a similar CVS grant in 2014 that enabled the Community Care Clinic to start the classes. The clinic tries to offer five per year and limits the class size to about 10 smokers.
“That grant has just been invaluable,” Woolly said.
She said the CVS/NAFC awards are important in moving the Community Care Clinic away from treating chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma and COPD and doing more prevention and wellness activities.
If they find success with Repsher, the former smokers will see their health improve dramatically “and, of course, the financial burden is lifted,” Woolly said.
The Community Care Clinic’s mission is to provide primary medical and dental care as well as prescription medications to qualified under-served and uninsured adults in Rowan County.
The CVS Health Foundation recently announced more than $1 million in grants to 33 free and charitable clinics as part of its multi-year grant program with the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics.
Over the past four years, the foundation has donated nearly $5 million to the free-clinic association to increase access to quality care and support the management of chronic disease.
Other North Carolina recipients of CVS grants were the Community Care Clinic of Boone and Lake Norman Community Health Clinic in Huntersville. They each received a $35,000 grant.
Woolly noted that CVS stores nationwide are tobacco free.
Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.