Patricia McMurry retires
White Mountain Community Health Center is located in Conway and provides comprehensive primary care to men, women and children, including dental care and a prenatal program. The health center is a non-profit that aims to ensure that all can access high-quality health care regardless of ability to pay. This is achieved through a number of programs, including a sliding fee scale that provides large discounts to low-income patients. The health center also has a number of private funds to help with health care costs patients cannot afford and provides free assistance in navigating affordable health insurance programs.
Patricia commented, "My career at White Mountain Community Health Center has been a gift to me in many ways. The community, our board of directors and the team at the health center have embraced and built on our mission over the years. This has led to a highly effective operation of which we are all proud. I am also very thankful for all of the individuals and businesses who make what we do here possible."
Patricia's tenure started shortly after two well-respected nonprofits, the Children & Youth Project and the Family Health Centre, merged to form White Mountain Community Health Center. Under Patricia's leadership, the health center has grown into a multifaceted organization with many services and programs, serving over 2500 patients a year. Her ability to garner resources has provided numerous programmatic and infrastructure opportunities for the health center. In 2011, Patricia was instrumental in finding a way for the health center to survive when state funding was cut back severely.
"I still get emotional when I hear touching stories from folks who have benefited from our mission to the point of saving lives," Patricia said. "It is not unusual for someone to walk in our door in crisis seeking help for themselves or a loved one when they are at their wits end, not having been able to find help or affordable care anywhere else. We always listen and assist them so that when they leave here they know someone cares about them and they have a plan to move forward. Seeing this in action is always amazing and awesome."
Patricia pioneered the children's dental program, and more recently expanded that program to include adult dental hygiene on a sliding fee scale. She also brought Partners In Health under the health center umbrella, which supports families of children with chronic illnesses. When Medicaid was first expanded to cover many low-income children, the health center under Patricia's leadership led the Umbrella Program to help Carroll County families enroll, giving many children access to health services for the first time.
Recently, the health center has been on the cutting edge in integrating, substance misuse screening, depression screening, and mental health counseling into primary care for pre-adolescents, teenagers and adults. The health center has also served as a critical resource to the community since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), providing Navigation services through an ACA grant to ensure that everyone in the Valley can access the new coverage options, regardless of computer or health insurance literacy.
Patricia explained, "I have also been very proud to be part of an organization that has received recognition for our forward thinking. I have always told the team at the health center that because we are a small nonprofit we tend to think we are 'less than' other health care organizations in New Hampshire when in fact we are often recognized as being 'more than.'"
To cap off her tenure, Patricia is leading the health center in preparing an application to be designated as a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) Look-alike. This designation will provide enhanced reimbursement and is a stepping stone to becoming a full FQHC, which would bring many more benefits for the health center's patients.
And after? "My retirement plans are simple," Patricia finished. "I will continue do what I love, maybe a little less of it, and be with those I love a lot more. At the end of the day that is what matters the most to me."
The health center's board of directors is currently conducting a search for Patricia's successor. A successful candidate will have a strong interest in helping medically underserved populations and the skills to manage a multifaceted health center. Interested parties may contact Board President Carol Hastings at firstname.lastname@example.org.