Hope for Health
New Hope Clinic, Brunswick County’s affordable healthcare center, has been serving the community for nearly 25 years.
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” – Leo Buscaglia
In her 13th year as executive director of New Hope Clinic, Sheila Roberts remains committed to putting out the word about services available at the clinics she manages in Boiling Springs Lakes and Shallotte.
Her message is clear and emphatic: Medical and social services are available for needy Brunswick County residents. To those eligible for help she promises, “We’re here for you.”
Who do they serve? Roberts says, “Last year New Hope Clinic serviced roughly 600 enrolled patients who filled more than 5,000 appointments at our centers. There are licensed medical professionals in optometry, dentistry and health coaching who are funded by grants or donate their services helping those who may not be able to afford private healthcare.”
Roberts and her mostly volunteer staff are moving beyond the initial effects of the pandemic as they continue enrolling eligible Brunswick County residents. She acknowledges the population increases and the growing need for services to this county.
On a recent tour of the clinic, Roberts deftly multi-tasked through the hallways, stopping to explain the use of each office while answering staff questions, fielding a phone call and checking schedules with the front desk. She proudly pointed to medical exam rooms, enrollment offices, dental chairs and vision testing equipment. All rooms were clean and ready for patients. Surprisingly, there is also a room for pharmaceuticals that can fill non-narcotic prescriptions from the New Hope physicians.
Out front, the waiting room is a brightly lit area with chairs placed at socially acceptable distances. A cozy corner has shelves of children’s books – Kiwanis Kids’ Corner – donated by the local organization. Hallways are lined by small plaques recognizing donors’ names, memorial gifts and fund-raising events that have helped support the clinic over the years.
As a local health center, New Hope Clinic is limited in certain areas of healthcare. Generally, the pharmacy can fill and renew New Hope prescriptions given at treatment visits.
The dental clinic is equipped to take x-rays and administer basic dental services. The general medical program offers primary care diagnosis and treatment and a couple of specialties on site.
Clinic providers may make referrals for other specialty medical care to practices in Brunswick and New Hanover counties through the regional Cape Fear HealthNet. Aside from medical care as noted, the clinic also will screen patients for depression, anxiety and social needs and refer them out to other doctors or programs of the Brunswick Wellness Coalition as needed to best support the patient. Once again, most referrals are free or costs are minimal for follow up appointments with outside doctors.
Roberts points out they are not an ER and can’t treat everyone. True medical emergencies must be seen at a hospital. The clinic staff will listen with care and concern before offering sound medical judgment and guidance to meet the patients’ needs.
The clinic has the goal of improving access to care for those with limited resources to improve their quality of life and stability. While they offer personalized healthcare services, Roberts notes the bigger picture of their impact on the region.
“If the individual and community health improves with our services, the increasing burden on the health care system will be reduced,” she says.
The whole concept behind New Hope Clinic is refreshing and renewing. As a treatment center, New Hope Clinic is clean, well-organized and welcoming. The volunteers at the front desk show common courtesy and interest in greeting and attending to patients as they arrive. The workers enjoy being part of a volunteer team that is upbeat and positive.
Roberts would like to see an increase in volunteerism so more treatment options become available in their Boiling Springs Lakes center and its satellite office in Shallotte. As many new residents to Brunswick County have found, there is a real heart here. There is a genuine care about the family down the street or the fellow next door.
As New Hope clinic approaches its 25th year, it echoes the words of Executive Director Sheila Roberts, by saying to the community: “We’re here for you.” For some, indeed, there is always New Hope.
Getting Treatment with New Hope Clinic
To be enrolled in New Hope Clinic’s program, new patients must show certain residency and income documents, as eligibility for service is determined by the household’s annual income. To determine eligibility, check the clinic’s site at newhopeclinicfree.org or call them at (910) 845-5333. While walk-ins may be seen in some circumstances, patients who are enrolled will receive appointments to meet with specific providers.