Community Care Clinic of Dare: People Helping People
As a free clinic in Dare County, three of the words in their name (not counting “of”) are spot on, but one might be misleading. Let me explain.
This organization is extremely community oriented and sensitive to the community; it oozes genuine care from all around; and they dare to go above and beyond the call of duty for their county! The word “Clinic” will possibly conjure up a very incorrect image. Think of it more like a modern, bright, pleasant, state-of-the-art “facility.” It is an amazing building full of amazing people, is larger than it first appears, and is located in a pastoral natural setting. It is also semi-secluded, being at the very end of a quiet Nags Head street, the terminus of a peaceful, quiet neighborhood.
Free Clinic in Dare County
This clinic provides a myriad of free medical services for those who qualify. They manage and treat chronic disease conditions, provide acute care, medication assistance, and health and wellness education.
The Community Care Clinic of Dare WILL provide:
- Basic (non-emergency) medical care.
- Specialty care referrals when possible.
- Prescription drug access (excluding pain medication) through voucher and Prescription Assistance Programs.
- Health education.
- Inter-agency referrals.
- Immediate referrals for our mental health population.
The Executive Director, Tami Montiel, adds, “We do provide preventative education and offer a Prevent Type 2 Diabetes class, we provide annual flu shots, and allow patients a one-time visit from their emergency room discharge if they need a follow up visit.” She makes it clear what their primary objective is: “We offer access to primary care to those who have no insurance because we want to keep our folks out of the Emergency Room for their primary care.”
Montiel is always looking for ways to improve. So, continue to monitor their website for news.
The Community Care Clinic of Dare IS UNABLE to provide:
- Emergency or urgent care services.
- Access to narcotics or other controlled medications, including those for pain management.
- Obstetrical and gynecological (OB-GYN) care.
The modern economy of the Outer Banks is defined almost completely by the fact that it is a major U.S. resort area. As a result, there is a large labor force who mostly only “make hay while the sun shines.” Here is where the Clinic comes in; from their mission statement: “The Community Care Clinic of Dare provides basic healthcare, medication assistance, and wellness education for financially challenged, uninsured persons living or working in Dare County.”
To be eligible to receive services from the Community Care Clinic of Dare, the patient must:
- Be between 18 and 64 years old.
- Live or work in Dare County.
- Have no health insurance: Medicare, Medicaid, Private Insurance, or Obamacare.
The Nags Head facility operates Monday through Thursday during the hours of 9am to 2pm. There is access at any of these times for Patient Registration and Information. Then they have free medical clinic and medication dispensing on Monday and Wednesday from 9am until 2pm. Additionally, there are two evening clinics a month; one in Frisco and one in Nags Head
There is a satellite office for Hatteras Island located in the County Health & Human Services at the Frisco Campus. Patient registration and information and free medical clinic and medication dispensing is only currently available on Tuesday from 6pm to 9pm.
Montiel, as Executive Director, is a super energetic, personable, enthusiastic, highly motivated individual bubbling with optimism. Talk with her for more than five minutes and you will see that she is the E.D., a nurse, a fund-raiser, a visionary and a psychologist. She calls the facility “the Yes Building” because they never say no to anyone. “Many of these people hear ‘no’ all the time. If it is something we cannot do, we will refer them to those places that can help,” says Montiel.
The free clinic in Dare County was the extraordinary vision of the Albemarle Health Foundation, The Outer Banks Hospital, and Chesapeake Hospital. It was formed in 2005 after County Health Assessment identified over 20% of the population was uninsured. While 20% may not sound like a lot, in Dare County that translates to over 7,000 people affected. The Community Care Clinic of Dare (CCCD) relies heavily on partnerships, volunteers, and generosity. They have a lot of all of those. The building itself has been made possible by the extraordinary generosity of the Town of Nags Head. The Clinic has served over 6,000 people since it began and currently has 600 new patients.
CCCD has an impressive volunteer Board of Directors, and an amazing array of local doctors and nurses, who donate their expert services and many hours. The list of memberships and partnerships the Clinic has is stunning. Montiel explains, “We collaborate with the Dare County Health Department, The Outer Banks Hospital, Project Access, NC Prevent Blindness, Chesapeake Imaging, Ryan White HIV group, Port Mental Health, NC Med-Assist. All of these partners provide incredible ancillary services, at reduced and often no cost to our patients. Our volunteer physicians, nurses, and administration logged in over 600 hours of volunteer time.”
Montiel is the only full-time salaried employee. She directs seven part-timers and 20 volunteers. “I have some volunteers that have been here since it began in 2005!” That says a lot about the nature of this organization. But she readily admits, “My biggest challenge is that people do not know about us.” She says the two biggest parts of her job are trying to increase their public awareness profile and constantly raising funds to operate this free 501(c)(3) nonprofit. “I am always out there.” She points out that, “Our largest fund-raising event is on October 18, 2019; please consider sponsorship or donating an item for our amazing silent auction. And we invite everyone to attend this wonderful event.” The event that Montiel is referring to is: “An Evening of Jazz” with John “Dr Jazz” Sanchez & His Chez Says Band. The event takes place at the Hilton Garden Inn in Kitty Hawk from 6 until 9 pm that evening. CCCD had been able to secure a $150,000 grant from the office of Rural Health for three years, but the cycle just ended. “This has been a very challenging year with this deficit; however, we are laser focused on our mission of providing high-quality primary care. We are leaning on our tremendous volunteers, community partnerships, and local donations and support until we can reapply for this funding next fiscal year.”
In the one-hour informative interview, Montiel frequently used the word “community.” The organization is well named in that it is all about the community and caring. Montiel continues, “Our objective is to keep the community healthy and well.” She points out the positive ripple effect their services have on their patients. Most of their patients comprise a large part of the basic work force that keeps Dare County tourism alive and well. “That benefits us all,” Montiel assures us. Instead of spending their income on expensive medical insurance, prescriptions and doctor’s fees, they can provide more for their families. This enhances their self-worth and dignity. It inspires confidence and creates positive and productive attitudes. It also removes the enormous stress of not being able to keep themselves or their families healthy.
Since arriving as Executive Director, Montiel has made significant progress and improvements. She solved one of the most basic hurdles facing potential patients by simplifying the registration process. “We are always available to help our patients with the process. We want to be accessible to all that may need our help!!!” She continues, “We also increased the eligibility requirements, being sensitive to the high cost of living in Dare County, and a household of four with an income of $73,800 may qualify for our services. Please call so that we may assist the process for you.”
If you or someone you know decided not to bother registering based on the old information, please see Good News on the CCCD website: dareclinic.org.
Montiel then pointed out something that makes a great deal of sense. She advises potential patients not to wait until they are sick but to register before then so everything is expedited when they do need services. As an analogy, everyone living in Dare County knows not to wait for a hurricane before stocking emergency supplies. So, don’t wait to register!♦
If you or somebody you know needs access to a free clinic in Dare County, please don’t hesitate to contact them. More extremely useful information can be found on their website, dareclinic.org. Or call them at 252.261.3041.
James D. Charlet is a speaker on & keeper of Outer Banks history & culture.
James D. Charlet has 24 years of experience as a classroom teacher of North Carolina history and 25 years permanent residency on Hatteras Island with expertise in its history, geography and culture. He is the author of two textbooks (NC Studies and Wright Brothers) and numerous magazine articles on Outer Banks subjects