SEARCH open meetings resume with an invitation to the community to attend a launch party at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, at Trinity Episcopal Church, 15 Hemlock Ave. in Spruce Pine.
Young and old, families with or without health insurance, retired people who expect a robust health care system, nurses and patients – anyone interested in the health landscape in Mitchell and Yancey counties is encouraged to attend. They’ll hear the main points of the strategic plan, and be asked to give their ideas about where it will take the grassroots, up-to-now all-volunteer organization as well as to consider how they might get involved.
The event will begin with dinner, for which vegetarian and non-vegetarian main dishes will be supplied by SEARCH. Attendees are asked to bring a potluck dish to fill in the rest and to let the organizers know you’re coming by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the past few months, SEARCH, which stands for Sustaining Essential and Rural Community Healthcare, has been taking stock of what the organization has accomplished and looked at what it can and should be doing. With a commitment to promote safe, quality, affordable health care for the people of Mitchell and Yancey counties, SEARCH has developed a strategic plan with the help of a consultant who conducted a similar process in the Piedmont.
Drawing on peer interviews conducted during the summer as well as two in-person planning sessions with SEARCH Leadership in September and October, Greensboro consultant Jen Nixon developed a summary and charted potential future directions for SEARCH. Nixon herself has a background in both healthcare and philanthropy. She was the founding Executive Director of the Rockingham County Healthcare Alliance, which brought together the healthcare stakeholders and other community leaders to create a network of care for uninsured residents. She subsequently served as Executive Director of the Reidsville Area Foundation and was a panelist at Cutting Edge Philanthropy, which SEARCH co-sponsored at UNC Asheville in May.
SEARCH is a community action group founded in the summer of 2017 in response to the announcement that labor and delivery services would be closing at Blue Ridge Regional Hospital (BRRH). Its primary focus during 2018 was on the pending sale of Mission Hospital to HCA, and it successfully fought to ensure that the sales agreement, which was concluded in Feb. of 2019, would guarantee the rural hospitals it owned in WNC would remain open for at least 10 years.
At the same time, the SEARCH Outreach Committee has been conducting listening sessions throughout the two-county area to determine what’s on people’s minds concerning all aspects of local healthcare. A new focus area will be announced at the meeting.