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New Grants Awarded to Help Community Health Centers Meet the Primary Care Needs of Patients

January 7, 2013 (New York)—To meet the growing need for access to primary care services throughout New York State, the New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth) has awarded six grants totaling $600,000 to expand the capacity of health centers. The grants will help community health centers in five medically underserved regions—Southern Tier, North Country-Adirondacks, Capital District, Hudson Valley, and Central Leatherstocking-Catskills—take practical steps to care for more patients, expand existing sites, establish new sites, and/or increase the range of services provided.

“Community health centers are on the front lines of primary care, and making sure they have the capacity to serve the growing number of New Yorkers in need of their services is critical,” said James R. Knickman, President and CEO of NYSHealth.

Successful implementation of Federal health reform will require expanded primary care access for the estimated 1.2 million New Yorkers who will gain health insurance coverage and for the 1.4 million who will likely remain uninsured. Community health centers—ranging from a storefront free clinic to sophisticated operations running facilities across a multi-county region—play an important role in providing primary care services. But many community health centers struggle with low margins, limited funding, and growing demand. When health reform is fully implemented, community health centers are expected to double capacity to serve 3 million New Yorkers.

These grant awards will support a range of activities to help community health centers in underserved areas meet growing demand for services: clinical and business planning; real estate assistance; workforce recruitment and training; and consolidations.

For example, Refuah Health Center will expand services in Sullivan County, which ranked 61st out of New York’s 62 counties on overall health outcomes, last for mortality, and 58th for morbidity. Focusing on the town of South Fallsburg, Refuah will use the NYSHealth grant to create a central hub to provide health care and social services by building a community health center able to serve more than 4,500 patients.

Open Door Family Medical Center serves more than 40,000 patients annually—many of them vulnerable immigrants, women and children—at 10 sites in Westchester and Putnam Counties. The NYSHealth grant will support Open Door’s efforts to establish permanent dental locations in Mt. Kisco and in Brewster, as well as plans to integrate primary care and behavioral health services.

Projects were selected through a competitive Request for Proposals and reviewed by a panel of NYSHealth staff and external reviewers. The six projects are:

Capital District

Whitney M. Young, Jr. Health Services, Albany, NY, Behavioral Health/Primary Care Integration Project

Central Leatherstocking-Catskills

Refuah Health Center, Spring Valley, NY, Supporting a Healthy Community: Expanding Services in Sullivan County

Hudson Valley

Hudson River HealthCare, Inc., Peekskill, NY, Preserving Poughkeepsie Access to Care

Open Door Family Medical Center, Inc., Ossining, NY, Expanding Oral and Behavioral Health in the Hudson Valley

North Country-Adirondacks

Hudson Headwaters Health Network, Glens Falls, NY, Expanding Capacity in Two Adirondack Communities

Southern Tier

Greater Hudson Valley Family Health Centers, Inc., Cornwall, NY, Exploring Expansion into the Southern Tier and the Catskills

The New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth) is a private, statewide foundation dedicated to improving the health of all New Yorkers, especially the most vulnerable. Today, NYSHealth concentrates its work in three strategic priority areas: expanding health care coverage, improving diabetes prevention; and advancing primary care. The Foundation is committed to making grants, informing health care policy and practice, spreading effective programs to improve the health system, serving as a neutral convener of health leaders across the State, and providing technical assistance to our grantees and partners.