The mission of Pitt County Government—to enhance the health, safety, and well-being of the community by advocating for and providing quality services in a friendly and cost-effective manner—was developed from a strategic planning process which included county departments, municipalities, agencies, not-for-profits, faith-based groups and many other stakeholders.
Identified in this common mission is an intentional commitment to engage people to determine their needs and to implement solutions. From the community health needs assessment, to comprehensive master plans, to appointments to boards and commissions, to establishing health priorities, the county listens intently to the voices of residents.
Using these resident voices, Pitt County identifies, develops and targets initiatives that connect community members with resources that improve health and well-being.
Local Reentry Council
To reduce high rates of recidivism, the Pitt County Local Reentry Council (LRC) was established to help previously incarcerated individuals navigate through the difficult transition period. LRC coordinates community resources and addresses service gaps to help recently released inmates become financially independent and productive members of society.
The LRC convened stakeholders and developed innovative strategies and solutions to the problems faced by incarcerated individuals. Administration of the LRC is conducted through LIFE of NC, an intermediary agency tasked with coordinating all aspects of the reentry process.
Since 2015, over 500 individuals have transitioned into the community through the LRC with a 15.9% recidivism rate, well below North Carolina’s average recidivism rate of 43%.
Community Paramedic Program
Access to adequate health care is a problem that many Pitt County residents face and oftentimes leads to the overutilization of emergency services. In 2019, 28% of 911 calls in the county were for non-emergent cases and presumably did not warrant ambulance dispatch.
A series of collaborative discussions between a variety of health care stakeholders were held to identify creative ways to serve patients who lack the resources to obtain adequate healthcare and subsequently misuse emergency services.
The Community Paramedic (CP) Program was born. This unique initiative expands the traditional EMS/paramedic role to provide health care and services to underserved populations lacking access to physicians, hospitals/clinics, pharmacies and other related resources. The CP Program employs one paramedic who assists in clinical care, coordination of and connection to services, and patient education within the patient’s home environment. The CP not only serves as a paramedic and healthcare provider, but also operates as a nurse, coordinator, patient navigator, social worker, pharmacist, safety advocate, and wellness coach.
The program is guided by a diverse steering committee comprised of social workers, community health management, EMS providers, ED physicians, and executive leadership. The program primarily targets three populations: high frequency EMS users, high frequency ED visitors, and patients at high risk for readmission to the hospital within 30 days of discharge.
The CP program lowers healthcare costs and increases the availability of resource. Since July 2018, over 200 patients have been referred to the CP program, resulting in a 50% reduction in EMS ambulance usage and visits to the ED.
Farm and Food Council
In 2015, the USDA Farm Service Agency in Pitt County convened a task force of private citizens, health professionals, public officials, and North Carolina Cooperative Extension staff to discuss how a local food council could impact the county’s food system. From this meeting the Pitt County Farm and Food Council (FFC) was established with a mission to promote a healthy, sustainable, equitable, and economically viable community food system; and to initiate, support, and promote programs and policies that educate the community, diminish food disparities, and protect farmland.
The FFC is comprised of 13 members. A part-time Food Council Coordinator facilitates collaboration among organizations on food and nutrition policies and programs to address food security, farm and economic development, and food and nutrition education. Programs include: