In February 2017, Celo Health Center merged with the Bakersville Community Health Center to become the Mountain Community Health Partnership.


"It's a perfect example of community-based primary care," said James D. Bernstein, Director of the Office of Rural Health and Resource Development.

The Bakersville Community Medical Clinic, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina, opened its doors in November of 1974, with more than $13,000 raised by more than 2,000 local residents. Bakersville was the fourth primary health center to receive funding and technical assistance through the Office of Rural Health, which provided the clinic with a $25,000 state grant to help start its operations. Initial capital funding also came from the Appalachian Regional Commission.

The Clinic has a long history of caring for its people, a catchment area of about 9,000, mainly in Mitchell and Yancy counties, but stretching west to Unicoi, Tennessee, and south to McDowell County.

The Clinic was initially staffed by Olive Wise, a nurse practitioner who was a nurse midwife in India before obtaining NP training at the University of North Carolina. Dr. Jerry Cade and later Dr. Arch Woodard, joined the clinic in the next few years to form a full-service primary health care center.

The Bakersville Community Medical Clinic remains vibrant today, its three-building complex taking up an entire block in downtown Bakersville, the county seat with about 500 residents and two stoplights. The current medical staff offers a full spectrum of primary care and inpatient care at Blue Ridge Regional, 20 minutes from Bakersville. The clinic also serves as a teaching site for medical students and residents from the Mountain Area Health Scholars Program, sponsored by the Office of Rural Health.

Although the Clinic began with state and other grants, it's community-based Board of Directors set self-sufficiency as a top goal from the beginning and still aims to maintain good service and serve all surrounding residents. Currently, the patient mix at Bakersville is about one-third Medicaid, 18 percent Medicare, and the remainder self-pay and third-party insured. The clinic offers residents with modest incomes to apply for a structured sliding fee scale and helps them keep with up their medical bills.


For over 65 years, the Celo Health Center provided care in the building built in 1946. In 2002, Celo opened our new, state of the art facility, right next door to the old. Thanks to the generosity of the community, and many private and public foundations, none of the cost of the building was passed on to Celo patients.

Our patients enjoy a warm-feeling, attractive building, a convenient covered patient drop-off and an ambulance entrance, adequate parking, eleven exam rooms, a room for procedures, minor trauma and urgent care, lab facilities, a comfortable scenic waiting room and rocking-chair porch.

The Ground floor provides 3 complimentary care offices and waiting area rented by local practitioners. Currently one office is shared by an acupuncturist and massage therapist. Another office is occupied by a chiropractor. We have a large classroom for rent suitable for classes, meetings and seminars. Cooking facilities are available for nutrition classes

Due to the generosity of The community and several foundation grants, Celo was able to build the new facility without incurring any debt. We were so fortunate to receive donations large and small from hundreds of others in the Celo community.