The Outer Banks Hospital Development Council, through its Community Benefits and Health Initiative Grants Program, recently awarded $90,000 in funding to 5 area agencies, which represents a 50% increase over last year’s funding. The grants were made possible by University Health Systems, co-owner of The Outer Banks Hospital, and the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust.

“We are pleased to be able to enhance the good works of our area health and wellness agencies,” said Margaret Wells, Chairman of the hospital’s Development Council. “Our grant recipients are either increasing access to health care or creating projects and programs that prevent substance abuse. The hospital’s grants committee felt that these two focus areas were worthy of our support.”

The five projects receiving funding included:

  • Dare Coalition Against Substance Abuse, $25,000, for substance abuse prevention education in the local workforce
  • Yellow House Ministry, $12,500 for substance abuse treatment
  • Community Care Clinic of Dare, $25,000, for prescription medication assistance and diagnostic services
  • Dare County Department of Health, $20,000 for ultrasound diagnostic testing and mammograms
  • Dare Home Health & Hospice, $7,500 for the Dare Respite Program

“Our mission at The Outer Banks Hospital is not only to provide the highest quality health care but also to promote wellness,” said Van Smith, hospital president. “It is both exciting and fulfilling to see our mission touch and transform the lives of those who live in our community.”

Linda Saturno, Executive Director of the Community Care Clinic of Dare, said the Community Benefits and Health Initiatives grant money will assist in underwriting the costs of medication, diabetic supplies and diagnostic testing. “Considering that more than 65% of our patients are chronically ill with either diabetes or hypertension, the funding is not only life impacting for our patients . . . it’s lifesaving!” she added.

Funds from the Community Benefits grant monies will allow Dare Respite Care expand to serve family caregivers with special needs or disabled children, which is a distinct and unmet need in our community. “The funding will help to sustain the existing faith-based program which matches trained volunteers to family caregivers and their loved ones, thereby giving them a brief break from their care giving responsibilities,” said Ellie Ward, Director of Dare Home Health and Hospice. “This brief break or “respite” allows caregivers to return refreshed and renewed. An additional benefit is that the care recipient enjoys companionship and support from another individual.”

"Thanks to this funding, the Dare Coalition Against Substance Abuse will continue to work with local businesses to reduce the economic and legal impact of alcohol and drug abuse,” said Carol Hartman, Chairman of Dare CASA. The majority of adult substance abusers do hold jobs, but their increased rates of absenteeism and accidents, and reduced levels of productivity negatively affect their employers, she added. The coalition will continue to help the local businesses institute simple interventions to better protect their businesses.

Yellow House Ministry will utilize grant funds for individual and group counseling for persons with substance abuse problems and for persons with risk factors for developing substance abuse problems. “Providing treatment for individuals with substance abuse problems is expected to benefit our community due to a reduced crime rate, reduced health care costs, and increased productivity of the individual,” said Lois Miller, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Yellow House Ministry. The group is planning their first group session in January.

Monies from the Community Benefits grant will allow the Dare County Department of Health to continue to assist uninsured and underinsured women by paying for their ultrasounds. Additionally this year the funding will be used to provide mammogram services for women that fall through the gaps in funding assistance. “Removing the financial barrier to accessing mammograms will allow more women the opportunity for screening and early detection of breast problems or cancer,” said Laurie White, RN, Nursing Director of the Clinic Division.

“These organizations are performing good works every day for the people of Dare County,” said Wells. “It is both a pleasure and an honor to assist them.”