NEWS RELEASE: December 16, 2016

For more information, contact:
Milton Butterworth
Chief Development Officer
Blue Ridge Health or 828-233-2225)

Blue Ridge Health Responds to Critical Healthcare Need in Jackson County

Blue Ridge Health (BRH) has been awarded a $775,000 New Access Point (NAP) grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to open a new community health center, Blue Ridge Health – Sylva, in Jackson County. The addition of this clinic is a result of a collaborative effort by BRH, Good Samaritan Clinic of Jackson County (GSCJC) and Harris Regional Hospital (HRH) in response to an opportunity to strengthen and expand access to comprehensive, affordable health care for low-income and uninsured residents in the region. Last July, the three organizations worked together to prepare the NAP application, which included over 20 letters of support from community organizations, including the Jackson County Board of Commissioners, the Department of Public Health, and the Department of Social Services. The notice of award was posted Thursday, December 15th.

“Our clinic has grown over the years and has worked hard to adapt to the needs of the community. This is a natural next step,” said Rebecca Mathis, Executive Director of GSCJC, “We believe establishing a community health center location in Jackson County will be overwhelmingly beneficial to our community and we enthusiastically support a partnership with Blue Ridge Health.”

Like other BRH sites, the new clinic in Sylva will provide primary care services under a patient-centered model of care for all residents of Jackson County and neighboring communities. Services will include family medicine, psychiatry, counseling, pharmacy, nutrition and educational outreach. The Center will accept most insurance plans, including Medicaid and Medicare, and no one will be turned away for an inability to pay. Patients without insurance will pay on a sliding scale based on family size and household income. GSCJC has laid a strong foundation on which BRH will look to expand access and improve outcomes for low-income individuals experiencing barriers to health care.

“The need in Jackson County has warranted expanded and strengthened access to primary care services for some time and, as the most access-oriented health care provider in the region, we thought it was important to respond.” said Richard Hudspeth, MD, BRH Chief Executive Officer and Chief Medical Officer. “Our most fundamental value as an organization is that everybody, regardless of age, income, race, religion or insurance status, deserves the opportunity to be healthy.”

Steve Heatherly, CEO of Harris Regional Hospital commented, “Today, we’re proud to be a part of announcing a new door to health, and are confident this partnership will result in a healthier Jackson County.”

Having successfully opened six new local community health centers in western NC since 2012, BRH has the organizational expertise and experience necessary to provide the high quality services associated with its practice, while addressing the unique needs of the Jackson County community. Blue Ridge Health-Sylva will build on the strong community ties that Good Samaritan Clinic has created over the past 15 years and rely on its expertise and history partnering with and learning from the patients, providers and community leaders of Jackson County.

Blue Ridge Health offices are conveniently located in Waynesville, NC at Haywood Health Center; in Hendersonville, NC at Blue Ridge Health Center, Hendersonville Family Health Center, 7th Avenue Health Center; in Brevard, NC at Brevard Health Center; in Arden, NC at Arden Health Center; in Spindale, NC at Rutherford Health Center, in Columbus, NC at Polk Health Center; and in five Henderson County Public Schools. If you would like more information about BRH services, call 692-4289; or visit and