Hertford resident Guy Simmons has received national attention for the work he does to improve healthcare in Eastern North Carolina.
Simmons, who serves as the Board Chair for Ahoskie based Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center, was one of ten finalists, from more than two hundred nominees, for the National Association of Health Center’s national Health Hero award. The award is part of National Health Center Week events going on across the country.
“As Chair of the Board of Directors, Guy Simmons exudes the mission of community health centers,” wrote Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center Chief Executive Officer Kim Schwartz in nominating him for the award.
"Simmons has more than 20 years of experience as a health center board member and offers his extensive expertise generously. He uses every opportunity to advocate for access to health care. He will often, at his own expense, travel many hours to Raleigh, Washington DC, or to one of the five counties served by RCCHC to attend a meeting that could have a benefit for their patients, staff, and health centers in general. As a steadfast advocate, Simmons has even drafted a proposal to offer military veterans with health care experience, particularly medical practitioners, a tax code change as an incentive to continue serving in health centers.
“Service as a CEO of a rural [health center] with a highly vulnerable population is challenging, but, having someone like Guy literally walking beside me and encouraging us all is the greatest gift,” writes Schwartz. “Guy is a tireless advocate for [health centers] and frankly to anyone who can’t advocate for themselves.”
Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center (RCCHC) is a Federally Qualified Health Center that serves about 25,000 patients, who live in 37 zip codes in northeastern North Carolina, through four primary medical and behavioral health centers (located in Ahoskie, Colerain, Creswell, and Murfreesboro), a school-based health center, and a migrant seasonal farm worker outreach program. A health center will be opened in Woodland in Northampton County in early 2019.
RCCHC joins 1,124 other Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) with almost 8,139 primary care service sites located in urban and rural under-served areas throughout the United States and its territories. There are 30 FQHCs in NC, representing 150 clinical sites. Community Health Centers provide a range of primary care medical, dental, behavioral health and enabling services to help improve the health status and decrease health disparities of the medically under-served people in our country. Community Health Centers address the unique and significant barriers to affordable and accessible health care services for our community.
At RCCHC, it is believed that all people should have ready access to the full range of quality primary, preventive, enabling and supplemental medical health care services, including pediatrics, dental care, mental health care and substance abuse services, either directly on-site or through established arrangements, regardless of ability to pay. Care is provided in a medical home setting. RCCHC provides complete preventive and primary health care services for the entire family.