Our History

"It's a perfect example of community-based primary care," said James D. Bernstein, Director of the Office of Rural Health and Resource Development.

The Bakersville Community Medical Clinic, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina, opened its doors in November of 1974, with more than $13,000 raised by more than 2,000 local residents. Bakersville was the fourth primary health center to receive funding and technical assistance through the Office of Rural Health, which provided the clinic with a $25,000 state grant to help start its operations. Initial capital funding also came from the Appalachian Regional Commission.

The Clinic has a long history of caring for its people, a catchment area of about 9,000, mainly in Mitchell and Yancy counties, but stretching west to Unicoi, Tennessee, and south to McDowell County.

The Clinic was initially staffed by Olive Wise, a nurse practitioner who was a nurse midwife in India before obtaining NP training at the University of North Carolina. Dr. Jerry Cade and later Dr. Arch Woodard, joined the clinic in the next few years to form a full-service primary health care center.

The Bakersville Community Medical Clinic remains vibrant today, its three-building complex taking up an entire block in downtown Bakersville, the county seat with about 500 residents and two stoplights. The current medical staff offers a full spectrum of primary care and inpatient care at Blue Ridge Regional, 20 minutes from Bakersville. The clinic also serves as a teaching site for medical students and residents from the Mountain Area Health Scholars Program, sponsored by the Office of Rural Health.

Although the Clinic began with state and other grants, it's community-based Board of Directors set self-sufficiency as a top goal from the beginning and still aimed to maintain good service and serve all surrounding residents. Currently, the patient mix at Bakersville is about one-third Medicaid, 18 percent Medicare, and the remainder self-pay and third-party insured. The clinic offers residents with modest incomes to apply for a structured sliding fee scale and helps them keep with up their medical bills.

Overall, the Clinic's administrative and clinical goals remain constant: provide good service, price services at a reasonable cost, and to be paid for services rendered.

Board of Directors

Dean Duncan – Board Chairperson

Keith Holtsclaw – Vice Chairperson

Lisa Boone – Secretary/Treasurer

Steven Hill

David Etheridge

JoAnn Hodshon

Charlie Hunt

Dr. Daniel Barron

David Johnson

Avril Wilson

Geeta Jyothi McGahey

Nicholas Maldonado


"Doctor on Call" Quilt Square

Location: Bakersville Community Health Center

This unique block has a story to tell. The subdued business colors in the block were chosen to indicate competence and professionalism. The red and purple hint at the heart and physical nature behind what the doctors do. The dark and light colors in the neutral background hint at day and night, because a doctor must always be ready, no matter what time of day.

The complexity of the block speaks to how difficult the doctor's job is and how much they have to train for it. The two crosses in the block speak to the spiritual aspects of the doctor's job and how life and death are always hanging in the balance.

There are nurse figures in the four corners with their arms raised, hinting at the guardian angles that travel with doctors. The hour glass figures speak to the critical nature of decisions sometimes required by doctors, and remind us that doctors are always on call.

Designed and drafted by Barbara Webster of Quilt Trails of Western NC, painted by Barbara Webster, Carolyn Bareford, Cheryl Huges, Christine Stron, and Deborah Palmer. Installed by Willow Johnson.