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'A medical desert' | Closure of Greensboro health clinic leaves some with few options

Greensboro city councilwoman Sharon Hightower said the closure of the affordable-care clinic leaves east and southeast Greensboro with limited medical options.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — A community health center in Greensboro that aimed to help underserved populations is now closed and Greensboro officials said its leaving parts of the city in a "medical desert."

The Evans-Blount Community Health Center opened in 2010 in the Benbow Professional Center on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Greensboro. The clinic provided services to adults 18 and over for illness, immunization, minor injuries and physical exams. Blood pressure checks and diabetes management were also available. 

"It was an excellent spot, you can access it from the highway from the city, it was just very convenient and of course it was absolutely in an area that was a medical desert," said city councilmember Sharon Hightower.

It's unclear when the facility closed its doors. Patient Buddy Haith said he went to get his heart medication about three or four months ago and saw it was shut down. Haith said he did not receive notice of the closure. 

"It's like every time they do some thing on (the) east side of Greensboro they take it back from us, that’s what it seems like to me, and so it disrespected this side of town," Haith said.

Haith said because of the closure, he was out of heart medication for a little more than two months. 

RELATED: Remembering Dr. Alvin Blount Jr. and his groundbreaking legacy

Evans-Blount Community Health Center was named in honor of two dedicated and long-term physicians, Dr. George Evans and Dr. Alvin Blount. 

In 1962, Dr. Blount and eight other black physicians, doctors, and their patients sued Wesley Long and Moses Cone Hospital, stating the hospitals denied privileges and services to patients due to their race.

Dr. Blount went on to become the first black surgeon at Cone Hospital and eventually became their Chief Surgeon.   

"(It's) devastating to me. It’s also insulting because what this clinic really stood for was the doctors who had served black patients for years and years and their honor, it's just wiped away it almost just (does) away with their memory," Hightower said. 

It's not clear when the clinic closed. A spokesperson for Guilford County said their partnership with the clinic ended in 2019. WFMY reached out to Dr. Richard Pavelock who is listed on the clinic's website. Pavelock said he sold the clinic to another physician about two years ago. The phone number and email on the clinic website are disconnected.  

Hightower said her district desperately needs another medical option. 

"We must be creative and reach out and say 'hey the constituents we serve are lacking, just like they are lacking in food there’s a food desert here, that we also have identified yes we are in a medical desert.' So that means that we as council people open that conversation up with others and say you must come and help serve our community," said Hightower. 

RELATED: Evans-Blount Health Center Provides Low-Cost Alternative

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