Manteo Board appoints Healthcare Task Force

By on July 21, 2022

Group formed to address shortage of providers and resources

The Healthcare Task Force was formed in the wake of the provider crisis at this Manteo medical practice.

During its July 20 meeting, the Manteo Board of Commissioners appointed a Healthcare Task Force that will be charged with identifying solutions for the lack of adequate healthcare in Dare County.

Headed up by longtime resident Malcolm Fearing, the task force was formed in response to the recent news that more than 2,400 patients at the Outer Banks Family Medicine in Manteo were losing their care due to a lack of providers. That development galvanized a broad discussion among residents, as well as county medical and local officials, about the critical lack of health care providers and what could be done about it.

Since news of the loss of providers at the Manteo practice surfaced earlier this summer, the Outer Banks Medical Group has announced that two primary care providers are being added to the Manteo practice – Dr. David Worthen and Dr. Erin Baker. Dr. Worthen’s father, Dr. Mark Worthen, will also be joining the medical group this fall at a future Nags Head location.

Fearing, who told commissioners during the July 20 meeting that the task force plans on meeting “as soon as possible,” outlined three initial priorities he sees the group will have.

“Number one is patient care,” he said. “The second bullet point would be retention and recruitment of healthcare professionals who are presently in the system.”  Lastly, he said, the group would focus on the issue of facilities, both in the short term and long term.

Along with Fearing, the members of the task force include:

  • Manteo Mayor Pro Tem Betty Selby
  • Manteo Commissioner Tod Clissold
  • Manteo pharmacist Kevin Phillips
  • Outer Banks Hospital Board Chair Tess Judge
  • Outer Banks Hospital Senior Administrator of Operations Amy Montgomery
  • Dare County Commissioner Jim Tobin
  • Dare County Schools Liaison Lisa Wheless
  • Patient advocate and former CEO of the National Blood Clot Alliance Randy Fenninger
  • Dare County Department of Health and Human Services Director Sheila Davies
  • Former Dare County employee and Outer Banks Hospital board member Beula Ashby.

“When we meet and organize, we will determine the direction the task force should go in because you have very competent people who have diverse [perspectives] on the complexity of issues,” Fearing said.

During the meeting, Manteo Commissioner Sherry Wickstorm summarized what she saw as the role of the task force.

“So the Healthcare Task Force will identify and better define these healthcare needs of our public and then they will also analyze and make careful examination of the ideas and concepts proposed by residents and citizens regarding healthcare,” she said.

After the research and the discussions are completed, Wickstorm said she envisioned the task force making recommendations first to town staff and then to the board of commissioners.

Fearing also added that the public would have the opportunity to make comments during task force meetings and also online, however the online system for facilitating this has yet to be determined.

Manteo Town Manager Melissa Dickerson noted that, “I think as recommendations are made by the task force, I will bring them to you after having appropriately vetted them through the town attorney,” she said. “That’s the important piece, that after they come from the task force, I will package all that together and bring it to you. And hopefully we will offer you some solutions with the recommendations.”





  • Hmmmm…..

    NO healthcare providers on task force? So a task force made of people who do not provide medical care to patients is supposed to figure out and come up with solutions as to why we cannot recruit primary care providers? Advice for task force: talk to local primary care providers.

    Thursday, Jul 21 @ 12:49 pm
  • Cindy Coughlan

    Look into One Medical. There is an office in Raleigh. Why can’t we bring something like that to our area?

    Thursday, Jul 21 @ 3:07 pm
  • Judith Passerini

    Dare County needs to recognize that that the entire County as well as vast portions of Currituck County are in need of medical services that they routinely come into the county to receive.
    Permanent appropriate medical professionals are needed including Internal and Primary practitioners,, Geriatricians Pediatricians and Mental Health providers. Currently care is so stretched that existing providers may be leaving due to outrageous demands for care services that impedes their quality of life. The routine use of contracted providers is not an adequate solution.
    This task force could be step one but a longer term healthcare delivery plan would be well served to meet the needs of those of us who live here, work here and visit here.

    Thursday, Jul 21 @ 4:19 pm
  • Sandra Murray

    Is it me? or shouldn’t there be at least one medical doctor on the committee for something this important?

    Thursday, Jul 21 @ 5:50 pm
  • Bobby

    This is a great move for the residents of Mateo and Dare County. I wish there was someway to get Currituck County in on this. Any ideas from anyone?

    Friday, Jul 22 @ 8:05 am
  • Rich

    The Kitty Hawk office has a void that needs to be filled as well with Dr. Terryberry’s departure. That has left me and many others from this location without a replacement Primary Care Physician.

    Friday, Jul 22 @ 9:12 am
  • Manns Harbor Man

    Judging from the caliber of the task Force members, I have great confidence in successful accomplishments of these citizens. This is the best news yet for those of us who were jettisoned by the Doctors and other medical professionals we trusted.

    Friday, Jul 22 @ 10:25 am
  • David Smith

    Blah,blah. This will go nowhere.

    Friday, Jul 22 @ 1:16 pm
  • Lisa whitley

    Ive been through 2 providers in the last 3 years. First one retired during covid . The second had to leave because her rental went to vrbo. Cant find a provider. My mother inlaw is 74 and moved tp the area 5 years ago and her provider is in Chesapeake and its getting harder for her to get to va on her own.

    Friday, Jul 22 @ 5:09 pm
  • Lorien

    I think it very interesting that there are no medical providers on this task force. If you would like to know why we can’t keep our providers all you really have to do is look to the salaries that the primary care providers are making. The hospital made a deal with the providers for a low base pay that will not support them on the Outer Banks and pay their bills so that they had to see more patients in order to make more money. A primary care provider will see as many patients during the day as they can safely see. 15 minutes per patient for someone who has heart disease and diabetes and 10 different drugs that they’re taking, is not enough time to do justice to that patient. I know for a fact that plumbers and electricians are making more money per hour than your nurse practitioners or Physicians assistants. Maybe that’s why there’s no medical practitioners on the task force. They might have to actually see the problem for what it is! When my husband and I moved to the beach 40 years ago we were told not to expect reasonable pay because it’s a privilege to live on the beach. While I agree that it is a privilege we still have to pay our bills. And so does any provider you invite to move here

    Friday, Jul 22 @ 7:00 pm
  • sandflea

    “Healthcare” out here is a total disaster. Many, many people drive to Virginia for their healthcare needs. They do this because Sentara is a much better run and superior hospital system with much more competent doctors. They’ve always had trouble recruiting and keeping doctors as well as other health care providers here. A few years ago there was about 6 or 7 doctors that left within a few weeks period. Most doctors come from a metropolitan setting. Many have a significant other upon arriving. Other than fishing and surfing, the Outer Banks doesn’t really have much to offer. They get tired of having to drive almost 2 hours for the city amenities. Vidant appears to be extremely mismanaged by the constant turnover. They’ve had this problem for the last 20 years. They don’t pay their doctors and supporting staff what they need to. Now the problem is compounded by the fact they they can’t find anywhere for their employees to live; and if they do, they can’t afford to pay them what they need.

    Sunday, Jul 24 @ 8:13 am
  • Charles

    Sandflea nails it. But the good news is we continue to add vacation rentals and Rodanthe still has an active Laser Tag business. Just don’t get hurt there….

    Monday, Jul 25 @ 12:22 pm