ECU Health CEO invited to Manteo Board meeting 

By on June 17, 2022

Request comes after Manteo family practice drops several thousand patients

ECU Health CEO Dr. Michael Waldrum.

Manteo Town Manager Melissa Dickerson has written a June 16 letter to ECU Health CEO Dr. Michael Waldrum asking that he or a designee appear at the July 6 town commissioners meeting to discuss the “current health emergency” created when the Outer Banks Family Medicine practice in Manteo informed more than 2,400 patients it could no longer provide their care.

That letter was dated May 23 and has sent many patients on the difficult journey of searching for a new primary physician. A number of such patients were interviewed in a June 16 story published by the Voice, and they discussed the challenges after being dropped from the Manteo practice, including the longer drives now necessary to get to an appointment.

In her letter to Waldrum, Dickerson said that the Manteo Commissioners “heard concerns from community members regarding the lack of medical care available locally” at their June 15 meeting. The board, she added, “requested that I facilitate a community conversation regarding our current health care emergency.”

Dickerson asked that Waldron or someone he chooses attend the July 6 meeting at 6:30 p.m. “to offer a presentation to update our community as to the efforts made by you and your staff on the recruitment and retention of medical professionals at the Outer Banks Family facility in Manteo.”

SEE ALSO: ‘When I read that letter…I was in shock’





  • BB Wylie Walden

    Thank you to Manteo for stepping up. That should be a very important meeting – I wonder if it could be lived streamed?

    Also my thanks to the Outer Banks Voice, Mark Jurkowitz and Michelle Wagner for reaizing the importance of this pivotal time for so many.

    Friday, Jun 17 @ 6:49 pm
  • Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice

    Thanks, BB

    Friday, Jun 17 @ 8:32 pm
  • Nancy Griffin

    Due to lack of accessible and increasingly urgent health care needs, my husband and I were compelled to leave the beloved county we lived in for nearly forty years. I truly hope the county finds solutions for those remaining.

    Friday, Jun 17 @ 8:18 pm
  • Jennifer Harrison

    Agree with BB. Spot on. Thank you to all those trying to facilitate positive change and care for one another. It’s a huge part of what makes this community so special. Kudos to Ms. Dickerson for reaching out to Vidant/ECU CEO to address these concerns and attend our community meeting – efficient, no wasting time, getting straight to the point, pushing for answers & positive change for our community – wish there were more people like this in public office!

    Friday, Jun 17 @ 10:08 pm
  • Debbie

    Really not sure what this will accomplish. A few years ago, those that were not proponents of the Affordable Healthcare Act said this would happen. So now it has happened. Not so sure what you folks are trying to accomplish by pulling the busy director on the carpet to somehow make this all better. He can’t make Doctors. This past week, I drove 2 hours to Edenton for a really bad eye infection, only one Ophthalmologist here on the OBX now, bless their hearts they actually called me when I was almost in Edenton. The office called and said they were so incredibly busy they were just catching up on calls.

    Saturday, Jun 18 @ 2:56 am
  • Lisa

    Health care issues have been a problem in OBX for years. The current trend for lack of health care workers adds to this even more. At the ER at our hospital the doctors will tell you the hospital is more of an Urgent Care. Often children who come in with a broken bone are sent to Chesapeake becasue we can’t fix it here-that injury is pretty common among kids. When you are up in Chesapeake drive through hospitals, institutes and doctor’s offices and see the number of OBX license plates that are there everyday to get the help we can’t get here. We are a growing community and need good primary care physicians and a hospital that can service our needs.

    Saturday, Jun 18 @ 10:43 am
  • Sandy

    For more than a decade NC has resisted expanding Medicaid to provide healthcare for more North Carolinians. This is the issue that is driving the scarcity of healthcare providers in rural areas of our state, where most of the uninsured live. NC would receive more than $1.5 billion in funding for healthcare – money that we all pay to the federal government in taxes, money that belongs to us. But because of political ideology our Republican politicians resist it, and this is what we get.

    It is disappointing, but not surprising, that Dare County, with a long history of Republican representation, is going to blame the providers like ECU. You want pure capitalism to drive healthcare decisions? This is what it looks like. You want change? Vote for new politicians.

    Saturday, Jun 18 @ 11:56 am
  • Margaret

    Problems with health care have been a constant long before issues with health insurance. Two hospital groups were courted to build a facility here on the OBX. Vidant was selected and a “birthing center” and transport facility was built, not a hospital. They continue to build or remodel outlying buildings but the real issue is medical professionals. Having gone thru the system here where we were transported to eight different hospitals in NC and VA with incomplete medical records in a 10-month period, I have concluded that I will have to move to get satisfactory medical care as I age. I have had several great doctors here and great care from these doctors; unfortunately some of them retired and others were only here on specific days. I have had to wait months to get a new patient appointment and even had to wait five months for a specialty referral appointment. We need good medical professionals, but to keep them, they need affordable housing.

    Saturday, Jun 18 @ 2:23 pm
  • John Boy Billy

    Sandy: Keep politics out of it. Medicaid has nothing to do with the scarcity of rural healthcare providers. Neither does the Affordable Care Act (for the other side).

    Because we are a small community, doctors here don’t get paid as much as in larger areas. Outside of urgent care during the tourist season, the population doesn’t justify it. Housing is a known issue for their staff (nurses, admins, etc.) as well.

    Our hospital is just a urgent care center on steroids and always will be. That’s the risk people living here will always have.

    Saturday, Jun 18 @ 3:10 pm
  • Tom

    Expanding Medicaid/Welfare will never attract Doctors. The reimbursement rates are typically in the 25% +/- rate of the UCR fee depending on the doctor’s specialty. You won’t bring in any docs by increasing their workload and decreasing their pay!

    Saturday, Jun 18 @ 4:32 pm
  • KittyHawker

    People are moving who have health care issues and they should.
    This is a tough place with very few doctors.
    Like a lot of things down here, it’s a roll of the dice baby!!!

    Saturday, Jun 18 @ 7:34 pm
  • Bobby

    This should be a three county effort. Our representatives have not been concerned with health care for us residents. They only chase any thing for the tourist industry. Lack of primary care is the fault of them and cutting costs by the current providers. My insurance pays the same for a nurse or a M.D. The current excuses being used are not valid. Housing is affordable if your not on the beachfront and the cost of living is the same anywhere else we have lived. Two of my kids are M.D.’s and they have had no problems attracting new M.D.’s to their practices in the last several years if they offer a great pay package. It will take residents speaking out and great news coverage to get anything improved.

    Sunday, Jun 19 @ 8:19 am
  • jim williams

    why not do a story on the Centurylink land line phone service weeklong and still continuing outage in Kill Devil HIlls affecting doctors offices, kdhTown offices, the Library

    Sunday, Jun 19 @ 9:07 pm
  • beverly

    Certificate of Need Laws in NC is the DOWNFALL OF RURAL HEALTHCARE.
    They protect HUGE MONOPOLIES such as Vidant and keeps the competition from entering into the picture.
    This is the ROOT of the RURAL HEALTHCARE Catastrophe.
    It’s not a shortage of healthcare providers, a housing shortage, medicaid or medicare issue.

    Monday, Jun 20 @ 2:28 pm
  • Concerned

    Has anybody stopped to question why all of these Vidant doctors are leaving? Maybe the BOC should have some private discussions with them. Also instead of expansion of Vidant within the County how about our BOC begin to attract some other providers?

    Monday, Jun 20 @ 7:11 pm
  • Frank Moore

    I like what you suggest “Concerned”

    Wednesday, Jun 22 @ 10:55 am
  • Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice

    I am going to post this Frank, but a note that when you are writing a post that mentions that you agree or disagree with someone, please reference the thing you are agreeing or disagreeing with. It helps us keep track of the discussion.

    Wednesday, Jun 22 @ 4:42 pm
  • manteo

    I agree with Concerned and Frank. Does the County own the hospital and lease to Vidant? If so can they look for other providers to come in?

    Thursday, Jun 23 @ 9:04 am
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