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Ribbon Cutting Held for White Lake Medical Clinic

By Erin Smith

A ribbon cutting was held on Thursday morning for the new Cape Fear Valley Bladen Medical Associates clinic at White Lake. The clinic is located at 273 White Lake Drive.

DeVane Builders constructed the facility on the lot, which was formerly home to Potter’s Seafood. The new facility will be staffed by Dr. Jose Vergara, and Family Nurse Practitioner, Jennifer Smith; other staff will include Nurse Shelly Hill and Front Desk Coordinator, Ann Kinlaw.

Cape Fear Valley Health System’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mike Nagowski spoke, as well as Cape Fear Valley’s Breeden Blackwell. Cape Fear Valley Bladen Healthcare’s, President Dr. Roxie Wells, shared some important statistics regarding the hospital.

Dr. Wells said as of the end of July, there had been 841 discharges which is a 10 percent increase over last year. She also said the hospital has recorded 10,000 Express Care visits, and has seen a total of 81,000 visitors at all of their Bladen County facilities.

Dr. Wells said the addition of the newly opened White Lake clinic brings the total number of clinics in Bladen County to nine.

In a later interview about the clinic, Dr. Wells said, “This clinic for this community increases access to care.”

She said it is important for everyone to have access to health care without having to travel great distances to receive quality health care.

Dr. Wells said plans for the clinic came about after she came to Cape Fear Valley Bladen Healthcare. She said she began to survey the community, and tried to learn where the largest populated areas in Bladen County are located. Dr. Wells studied Clarkton first, and then White Lake.

“When I looked around, I looked at pockets of the community that had a large population. I also looked at pockets of the community that were further away, that it may take some time to get into a central location,” said Dr. Wells.

The ribbon cutting ceremony also had several speakers, including Cape Fear Valley’s Government Liaison, Breeden Blackwell.

“If anyone doubts Cape Fear Valley’s commitment to this community, then you’ve had your head in the sand for a while, because not only the hospital, but this [the new facility] is another example of our support for your community,” said Blackwell.

Cape Fear Valley Health System’s CEO Mike Nagowski spoke next, and welcomed everyone to the ribbon cutting and the new facility.

“I think this facility is all about growth but it’s not just growth for growth’s sake. It’s about access to care,” said Nagowski.

He added that residents in Bladen County should not have to travel long distances to receive healthcare. The new facility will allow the residents to have access to healthcare closer to home.

Cape Fear Valley Health System’s Chief Operating Officer (COO), Dan Weatherly, said the ribbon cutting was exciting especially after he spent time serving as President of Cape Fear Valley Bladen Healthcare prior to Dr. Wells’ appointment.

Weatherly said the opening of the clinic means “Our commitment to the rural hospitals especially has been what we wanted to provide… good care at home.”

He added the goal of Cape Fear Valley is to carry the resources to the community. Weatherly said clinics such as the one in White Lake and the facilities in Bladenboro, Dublin, and Clarkton are a testament to that commitment.

Weatherly said the clinic at White Lake was the culmination of more than a year of planning and development.

“It was built quickly and DeVane Builders did an awesome job,” said Weatherly.

He added the clinic is an important component to the county’s economic development and business growth.

Cape Fear Valley’s Practice Manager, Hunter Balltzglier, said the new clinic offers a new level of patient access for the community and surrounding locations at White Lake.

Watch video highlights from the ribbon cutting below.

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