C.W. Williams Community Health Center Strives to Provide Quality Health Care for All

By Rosanny Crumpton

The C.W. Williams Community Health Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit federally qualified health center, offers the following services and more: primary care, lab services, dental, behavioral health, covid care, pharmacy, HIV screening and testing and patient education services.

The C.W. Williams Health Center is not a free clinic, but an affordable health center that offers integrated care in a one-stop shop model. Uninsured patients pay a sliding scale rate, based on their total household income. “We are your medical home,” said the chief executive officer of the center, Debra Weeks. “The center is here to treat people’s whole health,” she said.

The health care providers at C.W. Williams want their patients to prioritize their health and they want to make that goal as easy as possible, Weeks said. In addition to their multiple sites, you may have spotted the center’s bright green and blue medical and dental mobile units servicing Mecklenburg and other surrounding counties.

C.W. Williams offers transportation services for its patients to and from appointments at the center as well as to and from any medical referrals, ensuring coordination of care.

Among their impressive list of service offerings, CWWCHC took telehealth to another level during the height of the covid-19 pandemic with remote patient monitoring, especially for those with hypertension and weight management issues. They also offer tools that monitor health markers.

Their truly integrated care model Includes complementary approaches such as acupuncture, acupressure, massage, cupping and seeding. These are just a few of the services they offer that benefit those seeking pain management or help with anxiety.

The center manages more than 30,000 visits per year, sees 13,500 individual patients, and is actively expanding its capacity.

C.W. Williams was founded in 1981 at 3333 Wilkinson Boulevard. The center is undergoing construction on a new building set to open in the summer of 2024. The center is currently operating out of its other sites to ensure that patient care is seamless. The new, larger building is aesthetically beautiful and environmentally safe. It will allow C.W. Williams caregivers to see a minimum of 50% more patients than they see now.

“Why shouldn’t the people we serve have the best possible place to be served in to receive care, to be mentally free and have their community health center, their space, the most beautiful space just like any other facility, any other hospital, any other medical service?” Weeks asked.

The new building will have a demonstration kitchen and offer nutrition programs to educate people on healthy eating habits and preparing affordable, healthy meals and snacks.

“The building renderings show a thoughtful layout and modern design to accommodate patients and visitors. It’s inclusive of integrated health areas, a dentistry department, a women’s health and pediatrics department will aim to tackle much needed maternal health initiatives, and more,” Weeks said.

“As a federally qualified health center, we cannot provide care to a person with insurance that we don’t also provide to a person that’s uninsured,” she said. “That’s the difference with a federally qualified health center. Everyone gets the same thing across the board and we make it affordable across the board.”

Weeks, a clearly passionate leader, came to C.W. Williams in 2015 with a master’s degree in social work and business administration as well as more than 30 years in leadership roles. “I’ve always been mindful of community, and I get that from my parents,” she said.

“I’m always going to make it my primary concern, agenda, focus — my passion to make sure everybody, even those who cannot afford it can get the same care that you or I would want or anyone else with insurance would want,” Weeks said.

“We serve everyone. We serve the insured and we serve the uninsured. We serve the underinsured. We serve the rich, we serve the middle class, we serve the poor. But you know what? The focus will always be that you have somewhere to come that’s safe, that cares for you — culturally, sensitively and also will give you quality care. And not one [person] is more favored than the other.”

Weeks expressed pride in the hardworking professionals at C.W. Williams and their outreach work that includes diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility efforts; linguistic accommodations; an annual health fair; the consistent and thoughtful care provided during the pandemic; and their new Teaching Family Residency Program coming soon.

“I am very proud of all that has been accomplished, but I am more proud of the future of C.W. Williams, where we are going, and how we will continue to provide the services needed for every patient.”