CEO of Manteo Health Center outlines plans in wake of doctor’s departure

By on November 14, 2023

In the wake of the Nov. 13 announcement that Dr. Jennifer Harrison would be leaving the new Manteo Community Health Center, Joe Rockenstein, the CEO of the Ocracoke/Engelhard/Manteo Medical Centers, sent this Nov. 14 message about plans for the center after that development. (There were no details released about Harrison’s departure).

Here is the text of his message.

First, and most importantly, I wanted to let you know what we, as an organization, are doing to make sure we deliver on seeing patients for your town and Dare county as a whole.  We had been working behind the scenes on coverage and what we could do internally to help our health center in Manteo.  So, here’s what we have/will do:

Dr. Shannon Sawin, currently in Engelhard, will be coming to our Manteo clinic every Wednesday for the balance of the month of November.  And then every Friday in December to help us get through this period.

Lauren Gaines, our Nurse Practitioner in Manteo, has rearranged her schedule to help accommodate more patients (including new patients that need to get on the schedule).

Jolene Jernigan, a Nurse Practitioner with 30+ years of experience and our employee, is willing to come up a couple days a week to help in the interim.  We are just trying to secure housing for her at this point and determine what days that will work with her schedule.

In order to facilitate Dr. Sawin spending some time in Manteo, our Physician Assistant, Kim Pham, will be expanding her schedule to 5 days in Engelhard.

All other staff in Manteo is onboard with these changes and has been appraised of the situation and how to handle any issues.

Dr. Harrison is supposed to be completing her current open encounters as this will impact patients that were awaiting orders for blood work, and referrals.

We will be monitoring those and to make sure no one slips through the cracks of follow-up and testing as needed and prescribed by Dr. Harrison.

We have a couple of leads in regard to replacement providers and I will keep you up-to-date on those as they come to fruition.

We DID NOT cancel patients. People should have a choice and we will be in contact with everyone on the schedule for Dr. Harrison.

SEE ALSO: New Manteo Health Center announces loss of doctor


Barnhill Contracting Company will receive sealed proposals for Manns Harbor – EMS/Fire Facility (EMS-8), Kitty Hawk – EMS/Fire Facility (EMS-9), Manteo – Youth Center on January 09, 2024. Times to be given on via addendum #01. See the following SCOPE OF WORK: BP 100 – General Trades, BP 105 – Final Cleaning, BP 205 – Demolition, BP 390 – Turnkey Concrete, BP 400 – Turnkey Masonry, BP 500 – Turnkey Structural Steel & Misc. Steel, BP 505 – Light Gauge Metal Trusses, BP 740 – Roofing, BP750 – Siding, BP 790 – Caulking/Sealants, BP 800 – Turnkey Doors/Frames/Hardware/Toilet Specialties/Accessories/Division 10, BP 840 – Curtainwall/Storefront/Glass/Glazing, BP 925 – Drywall/Framing, BP 960 – Resilient Flooring/Carpet/Base/Epoxy, BP 980 – Acoustical Ceilings, BP 990 – Painting and Wall Coverings, BP 1230 – Finish Carpentry and Casework, BP 1250 – Window Treatments, BP 2100 – Fire Protection, BP 2200 – Plumbing, BP 2300 – HVAC, BP 2600 – Electrical, BP 3100 – Earthwork/Turnkey Site, BP 3213- Site Concrete, BP 3290 – Landscaping. Scopes of work may be added and/or deleted at the discretion of the Construction Manager.

Bid Location and Time: Bid opening will be held in the Barnhill Contracting Rocky Mount Training & GPS Technology Room: 800 Tiffany Bvld, Rocky Mount, NC 27804. Time is as follows: January 09, 2024 at 10:00am and 2:00pm. Times per packages to be given on via addendum #01.

Barnhill Contracting Company will receive, open, and read publicly all bids received in person in the Training & GPS Technology Room at the main office and listed with the virtual viewing at the link to be posted on Barnhill’s Plan Room.

Bids will not be accepted from bidders that are not pre-qualified. No facsimile or email submissions are permitted. Sealed bids are to be hand delivered to the bid opening location noted above or mailed Sealed Bids can be delivered before 9:00am the day of the bid to the Barnhill Contracting Company Office at 800 Tiffany Blvd., Suite 200 Rocky Mount, NC 27804. Attention “Clint Hardison.”

The pre-bid meeting will be held in Person & Zoom Meeting on December 06, 2023 at 10:00 am at the Barnhill Contracting’s Rocky Mount Main Conference Room: 800 Tiffany Bvld, Rocky Mount, NC 27804.

The pre-bid meeting link can be located on Barnhill’s online Building Division Plan Room ( and below. A preferred brand alternates meeting will be held via the same link at the end of the Prebid meeting.

Bid Documents can be viewed or downloaded through Barnhill’s online Building Division Plan Room ( after 12/04/2023.

All Bidders are strongly encouraged to include opportunities for HUB participation wherever possible in their respective Bid submission.  HUB participation is a part of this contract and must comply with all requirements set forth in the Bid Documents.

The Construction Manager and Owner reserve the right to add pre-qualified bidders. The Construction Manager and Owner reserve the right to reject any and all bids. Should you require additional direction, please call Barnhill Contracting Company, (Clint Hardison – 252-802-0740).

Clint Hardison is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Dare EMS – Phase 2 Pre-Bid Conference

Time: Dec 6, 2023 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 823 9069 2985

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  • Cathy Ireland

    Why doesn’t he just tell the truth ! She was fired ! She is the best Dr on staff !

    Tuesday, Nov 14 @ 7:42 pm
  • Kit

    Why is medical service such a problem here? Vidant closed the Manteo office; father/son team came in, father to Nags Head and son to Manteo; then father left… Now this group is having staffing problems.. Don’t they pay the staff enough to subsist? It is expensive to live here, after all… Are the staff incompetent? Overall, it doesn’t look good for medical care on the Outer Banks! Having to go to Edenton, Elizabeth City, Chesapeake and beyond for care/treatment is a lot to pay for medical care.

    Wednesday, Nov 15 @ 11:03 am
  • Lori Twohig

    if anyone finds out where she is, I would love to know! she is a fantastic doctor!

    Thursday, Nov 16 @ 9:37 am
  • HonestAnswer

    Honest Answer is that PCP do not make prime money. In other words, it is in Vidant/ECU Health’s best interest to keep hiring Specialist. Specialists bring in tons of money versus the minimal amount that a PCP would bring. The Hospital Monopoly will never tell you the truth, but look at their actions. Vidant/ECU Health continues to grow in the OBX. How, do you ask? They are building specialists offices, staffing them and keeping them open. It’s all about the money!

    Friday, Nov 17 @ 11:42 am