Community Care Clinic says thank you to patients

Published 12:05 am Friday, May 31, 2024

Thank you.

That’s the message the staff at the Community Care Clinic wanted to pass along to their patients when they hosted a Patient Appreciation Day.

Originally scheduled for May 15, the event had to be postponed due to weather and was held in the clinic parking lot May 29 offering fun, food and information, serving as a thank you to their patients.

Deborah Bailey, office manager at the clinic who was instrumental in organizing the event, said they were trying to think of something they could do for their patients following the Medicaid expansion.

“We were trying to get more patients in, and I was thinking we should say thank you to our past and present and future patients,” she said.

They chose a day to set up in the parking lot, Bailey said, to let everyone know “we appreciate them for choosing us and thank you for being part of our family here.”

Executive Director Krista Woolly, said they had “a lot of patients that received Medicaid back in December when North Carolina expanded Medicaid, and we just wanted to celebrate our old patients and our new patients.”

Cornhole was set up in the parking lot where anyone who wanted to play could do so, and street tacos from Loteria Mexican restaurant were available for people to enjoy.

Multiple booths were placed throughout the lot offering giveaways and a raffle, fruit drinks and water along with recipes at another, information and food models showing healthy eating by Diabetic Educator Wanda Honeycutt and more.

During the afternoon, a Walk With A Doc was offered for anyone who wanted to go and get some exercise.

Dr. Amy Wilson, who is the medical director, said by doing this walk, she wants people to see “I practice what I preach and I try to continue to live a healthy lifestyle. And that I’m also a person just like they are. It gives them a chance to see me outside of a white coat, in a casual setting and you learn about each other in a different way.”

While they offer other non-traditional methods to teach ways to improve health, Wilson said this was the first patient appreciation event they have had.

“We thought this was a bigger day to kind of expose people to other aspects of healthy living in maybe a less threatening sort of way,” she said.

And the patients came to enjoy the day.

That’s what Rick Oliver, a former patient, said as to why he was there.

Former patient Venita Peck said she came back to visit and see familiar faces.

“I came back where I started,” Peck said. “They took very good care of me.”

She first had Dr. Smith and then Dr. Wilson and just loved it at the clinic. “I miss them,” Peck said.

Woolly said they love their patients, and this day was to celebrate them.

“They have just been great. We have a great relationship with them. We love them. And then when they leave, we’re sad,” she said.

In speaking of the clinic, Woolly said they are here for those who don’t get Medicaid, all the way up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level. She provided examples saying if it’s just a single person, that income would be $43,000, and for a family of four, it would equate to $90,000. While this sounds like a lot of money, she said it’s not if you have to pay rent and buy food. 

“So we’re really here for people who are working and don’t have access to care,” she said.

Janiya Downs, a dental assistant at the clinic, said working there is rewarding. A student and basketball player at Catawba College, with plans to continue her education by going to dental school, Downs was given the opportunity to work at the clinic.

She has been there for almost a year, and said being able to be there and help “means everything. We see a lot of people that need help and just to see them happy and appreciate the results is really rewarding to us.”

Downs’ mom, Felicia Martin, was there to support her daughter, who, she said, was applying to different dental schools. The clinic provided her with “a great opportunity,” and this is “the best thing she could have done right here!” Martin said.

Andy Basinger, who sees both sides of the clinic, as he is a former patient who now volunteers, was at the event sharing healthy fruit beverages and recipes.

Basinger said being able to give back was “rewarding like you couldn’t believe. I’m alive because of Dr. Wilson, and anything I can do is not ever going to be enough.”

He said the clinic means everything to him as he was the one who didn’t have healthcare and drank and smoked every day for decades.

Getting help at the clinic, he said, was “just the nudge I needed to get out of my own way, and they did that here, and I wasn’t judged. I didn’t realize how much better I feel now that I’m healthy. Yeah, it’s a wonderful thing.”

Basinger now volunteers every other Wednesday, rotating with Greg Stewart at the Wellness Wednesday events where he does cooking demonstrations or brings in healthy foods and provides samples, sharing what he has learned and said he would continue volunteering “for as long as they’ll have me.”

The day was planned for the patients, giving them the chance to “enjoy themselves, talk, see the staff, just feel healthy, feel alive, it’s springtime,” said Woolly. And at the end of the special day, she said it was “a great day to see old and new patients, volunteers and board members.”