2019 Impact Grant Recipient Spotlight: Blue Ridge Health

For more than 57 years, Blue Ridge Health (BRH) has served as the medical home for those most in need in Western North Carolina—low-income; the uninsured; Medicaid, Medicare and Health Choice (CHIP) enrollees; migrant and seasonal agricultural workers; the elderly; and children.

A $90,720 Impact Grant from WNC Bridge Foundation allowed BRH to open its first medical site in a retirement community, BRH-Givens Gerber Park in Asheville. Givens Gerber Park provides affordable rental apartments for ages 55 and up and pairs housing with supportive services to help residents age in place. BRH began by offering face-to-face medical services, but when the COVID-19 pandemic reared its ugly head in March, BRH quickly adapted to the situation at hand and implemented virtual (telehealth) care medical services. Today, both ways of serving residents are offered to anyone needing care. The grant enabled BRH to provide a registered nurse, a family nurse practitioner, a vaccine refrigerator and freezer, and vital signs equipment in addition to telehealth equipment.

With 31 sites in eight counties, BRH integrates primary medical care, pediatrics, pharmacy, dental, nutrition, behavioral health, pharmacy and outreach services in a patient-centered medical home. BRH offers sliding-scale fees based on family size and household incomeno patient is turned away for inability to pay. The organization also has specialists on staff to help with enrollment in the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace.  

From its beginnings as a seasonal migrant health clinic in 1963, staffed with volunteer medical providers, BRH has grown over the years to become the robust healthcare provider it is today and is one of the largest providers of healthcare across Western North Carolina. A gem in WNC, Blue Ridge Health is one of only a few federally recognized Teaching Health Centers in the country. 

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Chief Medical Officer, Dr. MaryShell Zaffino

“I love Givens Gerber Park and the Blue Ridge Health clinic on-site has been wonderful. My nurse practitioner is great. She really knows how to work with the residents and is so helpful. If I go to see a specialist they will send the record of my visit and any test results back to the clinic so all of my information is in one place. 

I am so glad everyone at Givens Gerber Park has access to healthcare and Blue Ridge Health.” 

~Givens Gerber Park Resident