Healthcare partners join forces

Published 10:46 am Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Shown here is an architectrical drawing of two buildings that will be occupied by the Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center (RCCHC) and East Carolina University School of Dental Medicine in Ahoskie. Groundbreaking on the facilities will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 23.

AHOSKIE – A long awaited joint partnership has officially arrived.

Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center  (RCCHC) and East Carolina University School of Dental Medicine are joining together in an official Groundbreaking Celebration for the new Ahoskie Comprehensive Care Center on Health Center Drive in Ahoskie. The outdoor event, held in conjunction with the Ahoskie Chamber of Commerce, ‘s Business after Hours event, is scheduled for 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 23, 2011 from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm, Aug. 23 and will be held behind the current corporate offices of RCCHC at 113 Hertford County High Road in Ahoskie.

Construction is scheduled to begin immediately on this dual-purpose facility in Ahoskie. RCCHC will construct a 40,000 square foot Health Center facility, funded by a $6.2 million federal grant from the Affordable Care Act.  Meanwhile, the East Carolina University School of Dental Medicine will construct an approximately 8,000 square foot Service Learning Center. That stand-alone center, which will adjoin RCCHC’s Health Center facility, will include 16 dental chairs and be staffed full-time by ECU faculty dentists, residents, and students. ECU will hire additional staff locally. The Ahoskie Service Learning Center is among 10 ECU Service Learning Centers to be located across North Carolina.

“What we’re looking at here in Ahoskie is for this clinic to become not only a model for healthcare in rural areas of this country, but a model for the future of dental education as well,” Dr. Greg Chadwick of the ECU School of Dentistryal Medicine, noted. “This marks the first time we’ve co-located a dental school facility and a federally qualified healthcare center (RCCHC) together. We are very excited about our partnership with Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center and look forward to providing quality dental care to residents of Hertford, Bertie, Northampton, Gates and surrounding counties.”

Chadwick continuescontinued, “What we’re doing is basically stretching the wires and moving the fourth floor of our school in Greenville out to the rural, underserved areas of the state,” he stated. “. Hopefully this new facility will be ready in March. Of course it will be three years before our first class of seniors will train here, but we will offer a residency program that starts next summer and we’ll be teaching here next summer. This will be a fully functioning general dentistry office with 16 labs, complete with dental assistants and hygienists.”

The new two-story Community Health Center facility will become the home of RCCHC-Ahoskie, medical and corporate offices.  There will be space for 48 exam rooms, larger improved laboratories, an in-house pharmacy, plus office space for the corporate offices of RCCHC.

The RCCHC Ahoskie building design has incorporated input from clinical staff, senior leaders, members of the Board of Directors and architects. Patient and staff flow analysis along with five years of patient growth trending have been major factors influencing the design.

Kim Schwartz, Chief Executive Officer for RCCHC, said “The new RCCHC-Ahoskie Community Health Center will improve access to primary care for all people of the Roanoke Chowan area. ,” stated Kim Schwartz, Chief Executive Officer for RCCHC. “It will complement the many partnerships with other area physicians and healthcare organizations, Roanoke Chowan Hospital, and East Carolina School of Medicine.

Schwartz continued, “The design of the building is intended to enhance RCCHC’s ability to provide a “medical home model” of healthcare for its patients,” Schwartz added. “This means a patient can see a doctor in pediatrics, family practice or internal medicine, have lab work done, and dental care, all in the same building complex. Health education, pharmacy services and behavioral health will also be offered at the new Center.”

“What this means for us is offering healthcare services to potentially 5,000 to 10,000 new patients, more space and at least 15 new full-time positions in addition to up to 60 new jobs for construction of the facility,” Schwartz noted in an earlier interview. “Additionally, this investment represents an immeasurable amount of tax benefit to our area.”

RCCHC’s new medical center and ECU’s dental facilities will be built on land deeded to RCCHC and the University by Roanoke-Chowan Alliance. That entire property is 27.6 acres and includes the current RCCHC building, Northside Behavioral Health and ViQuest.

For more information on the groundbreaking celebration or the new facilities, contact Gail Miller at RCCHC by calling 252-209-0237, ext. 7112 or e-mail: