'Faith-based' health clinic offers care alternative for uninsured, underserved people in Raleigh

John Clark Image
Thursday, February 16, 2023
'Faith-based' medical clinic sees rapid growth in Raleigh
NeighborHealth is a private, federally-qualified clinic offers a wide variety of health services for people without insurance.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- When it comes to medical care in the Triangle there are plenty of options to choose from -- if you have insurance. But what if you don't?

That's where NeighborHealth may be able to help. The private, federally-qualified clinic offers a wide variety of health services, from pediatrics to geriatric care, regardless of a patient's ability to pay.

More than third of its patients have no health insurance.

"There's a huge uninsured population and patients who have Medicaid in Wake County," said Betsy Joyner, NeighborHealth's Director of Clinical Services. "We think everyone deserves access to health care and access to good quality health care and medications they can afford and care they can afford."

NeighborHealth CEO Daniel Lipparelli said the non-profit facility, although not quite 5 years old, has seen tremendous growth.

The clinic had just one health care provider on staff when it opened. Now there are 70 providers, with more in the pipeline.

"In 2021 we were seeing about 4,500 unique patients," Lipparelli said. "Last year we closed out the year with 7,000 unique patients, and this year we're going to see well over 8,000 patients."

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As a faith-based clinic, staffers say they look after more than just their patients' physical needs.

"That's important," said Dr. Ronald Halbrooks, who specializes in internal medicine and geriatrics at the clinic. "We think there's a physical and a spiritual and an emotional side to patients. We try to address all three."

NeighborHealth partners with UNC Rex and WakeMed, along with numerous community organizations. Many of its patients are refugees who have come to Raleigh and are being helped by local charities. Last year, patients from 80 different countries passed through NeighborHealth's doors.

The newly-expanded facility on Blue Ridge Road now has 16,000 square feet of space with 26 exam rooms.

Joyner, a physician's assistant who's been with the clinic since it began, sees her work at NeighborHealth as a calling rather than a job.

"I really came here because I care about people in Wake County who don't have access to health care," she said. "The fact that it was a faith-based clinic and we were doing all of this out of our love for Christ, trying to share that with our communities, it sounded like a great place to be."