Community Care Clinic receives grant that will improve its diagnostic capabilities

Amy Wilson, Caroline Parrott, Cathy Teat, DeAnna Turner, Krista Woolly, and a training representative stand next to the testing machine and supplies provided through the grant. Photo submitted.
Amy Wilson, Caroline Parrott, Cathy Teat, DeAnna Turner, Krista Woolly, and a training representative stand next to the testing machine and supplies provided through the grant. Photo submitted.

SALISBURY — The Community Care Clinic of Rowan County recently received a national grant that will improve its on-site medical testing and diagnostic capabilities.

Located at 315 Mocksville Ave., Community Care is a nonprofit organization that provides medical, dental and prescription medications to qualified uninsured adults in Rowan County. The clinic’s work is supported equally by grants and individual donations. Community Care is led by Medical Director Dr. Amy Wilson, Executive Director Krista Woolly and a board of directors.

The product-based grant will provide Community Care with point-of-care diagnostic testing tools that allow clinicians to evaluate patients and provide them with diagnostic test results before they leave the clinic.

“This is definitely a win for our patients,” said Teen Aron, communications and development director at Community Care.

The award comes from the Point of Care, Enhancing Clinical Effectiveness Program through a partnership with BD, Heart to Heart International and the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics.

As a result of COVID-19, applying for the grant became a multi-year process during which the clinic had to provide a significant amount of information about its practices. The clinic’s staff also led grant judges on a virtual tour of the facilities. Community Care was one of six free or charitable clinics across the country that received the grant, joining clinics in Pennsylvania, Nebraska, Massachusetts and Utah. Grace Clinic of Yadkin Valley in Elkin, North Carolina was also a recipient of the award.

The testing machines and supplies provided through the grant have already been delivered and Community Care clinicians have undergone training on how to use them.

Before receiving the grant, Community Care outsourced its testing to LabCorp or other testing companies. Oftentimes, that meant patients would have to make a separate visit to the LabCorp office and would have to wait for critical results. Making that extra trip could prove costly or difficult for some.

“It’s time as well as transportation,” Aron said. “A lot of our folks have to depend on the bus line or friends, some walk or ride bikes. To know that we can offer that on site, while they are already at the office to see Dr. Wilson at the appointment, just helps her to take it one step further.”

Community Care Clinic Medical Assistant Caroline Parrott draws a patient’s blood for lab testing. Photo submitted.

With the testing systems provided through the grant, clinicians at Community Care can provide patients with results on site in a matter of minutes. Clinicians can then use those results to prescribe medications that can be picked up during the same visit.

“The new point-of-care testing will help give us definitive answers during the patient’s medical visit and will allow us to provide better overall care. Given that most of our patients have at least one of more chronic conditions, the lab will help in diagnosing and monitoring their health and prescribing treatment,” Wilson said in a statement. “We are honored to receive this grant that will help us increase access to affordable health care in the Salisbury community. When our patients are healthy, our community benefits as well.”

The clinic will now be able to test for cholesterol, LDL, HDL, triglycerides, macroscopic urinalysis, micro albumin, INRE, hemoglobin, A1c, strep A, rapid hepatitis C, pregnancy and flu A&B on site.

Through the grant, over 1,500 patient visits at the Community Care Clinic are expected to be positively impacted through the enhanced testing capabilities.

The grant provides the clinic with the machines and one year of supplies. After a year, Heart to Heart will assist the clinic in finding the best rates on testing supplies.