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Find Great Health Care Close to Home in Elizabeth City, NC

The region offers innovative care powered by community.

By Karen Vernon on March 3, 2022

health care in Elizabeth City, NC

Elizabeth City residents don’t have to travel to find great health care. Harnessing the power of technology and an engaged community, the region boasts several options ready to provide innovative care.

Patient-Centric Design

Sentara Albemarle Medical Center is looking to the future with its new 135-acre Sentara Albemarle Regional Health Campus in Elizabeth City.

A 60,000-square-foot medical office building set to open in 2023 will include the new Sentara Cancer Care Center, bringing all cancer services under one roof and connecting to a new hospital facility opening in 2024.

“The center is an exciting advancement for cancer services in our region,” says Dr. Janete Mills, an oncologist with Sentara. “Patients will be able to get cancer care from screenings to imaging to radiation in one place, and the center will feature a new radiation oncology suite with a state-of-the-art linear accelerator to administer treatments.”

Sentara is blending technology and convenience with a new digital hub, allowing patients to connect to specialists outside of the local area. The patient-centric space will be staffed by a medical assistant or nurse to provide hands-on care, while a physician consults with the patient by telehealth.

“With surgeries, for instance, there can be a number of preparation and follow-up appointments,” says Stephen Craig, Sentara Medical Group’s vice president of business operations. “This is a way to minimize wait and travel times for our patients, and to connect them with specialty care that may not be otherwise available in the community.” 

Technology and Teamwork

Chesapeake Regional Healthcare offers primary care and specialist services in Elizabeth City and throughout the region. Its breast care program is one of its largest and most well-regarded, designated a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence and accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers. Here, physicians, nurse practitioners and nurse navigators offer advanced technology, ranging from 3D mammography to breast ultrasound and biopsies, in one convenient location.

Reese Jackson, president and CEO of Chesapeake Regional, says in addition to the dedicated breast center, the organization offers a state-of-the-art 3D mobile mammography unit that travels throughout the region to bring this service to others.

“Behind it all is the technology and the team,” he says. “It was chosen as one of the best practices in the country because of all that goes into our focused approach.”

Community engagement is key as well.

“We’ve been so successful here,” says Christine Hustedt, director of operations for Chesapeake Regional Medical Group, “because almost all our providers are local. We and they are heavily involved in the community.”

One example is The Bra-ha-ha, which took place in Elizabeth City for the first time in fall 2022. Held as a joint event with the Elizabeth City Area Chamber of Commerce, the bra-decorating competition raised $16,000 its first year to support mammograms and other breast health services for eligible uninsured or underinsured patients.

ECU Health Chowan
Greg Schremp

Workforce Innovations

ECU Health Chowan is committed to innovations that improve the region’s health. Through its affiliation with the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, the hospital has access to clinical trials that are transforming research in neurology, infectious diseases, urology and more.

The health system also leads the way in innovations for the nursing workforce. For the past five years, along with its sister critical access facility in Windsor, ECU Health Chowan has spearheaded a nurse residency program to increase new nurse onboarding and retention.

Nurse residents participate as a cohort in immersive learning in all areas of the hospital that interact with nursing, including lab, pharmacy and food services. This equips new nurses to work as a team to deliver the best patient care. Participants have one-on-one coaching support and rotate through a variety of settings.

“After five years of this program, we have had great success,” says Patricia Jordan, manager of hospital education at ECU Health Chowan and ECU Health Bertie hospitals. “All of our nurse residents have remained with us for at least two years, and the majority are still members of our team.”

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