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Built and owned by Access East, Inc., the James D. Bernstein Community Health Center provides high-quality primary medical and dental services to principally low-income and uninsured patients from Pitt and neighboring counties.

“Our facility is state-of-the-art, with first-class equipment,” notes Dr. Tom Irons, Access East Board of Directors chair, and Associate Vice-Chancellor for Health Sciences and Professor of Pediatrics at East Carolina University.

This 15,000-square-foot federally qualified health center (FQHC), located near the intersection of N.C. 33 and N.C. 11 just north of Greenville, is operated by a strong regional partner, Greene County Health Care, Inc. (GCHC).

“We work hard in maintaining our community partnerships,” says Irons (in the middle of the group in the center picture, below), who led efforts to fund construction and equipping of the center back in 2007. “But it’s highly rewarding.”

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A True Community Health Center

GCHC is well-positioned to provide superior safety-net services, keeping Bernstein open and operational, and staffed with primary-care, dental, and pediatric staff with a keen understanding of the facility’s historically underserved patient-base (several GCHC staff members are seen in the photos, above). Many Bernstein staff members are also bilingual, an essential component for working successfully with a primarily rural population in Eastern North Carolina.

The Snow Hill-based GHCC also runs three other primary-care sites and another dental care site, along with a school-based health clinic, all invaluable in providing this region’s most vulnerable with affordable, accessible quality healthcare.

Among the additional ongoing community collaborations that make the Bernstein Center such a vital regional resource: Greenville’s Vidant Medical Center, a strong supporter of the facility since it opened, and Pitt Community College, providing on-site no-cost life-skills classes, as well as GED classes.

The Bernstein Center accepts a wide range of insurance, in addition to its work with uninsured patients, who are seen on a sliding-fee scale. All patients who come in are, however, seen regardless of insurance status.

That can keep things pretty challenging, Irons admits, but “GCHC has operated at a high degree of efficiency through trying times.

 “We’re very, very proud of this place,” he adds warmly.