New York State Health Foundation

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Regional Primary Care Network

  • Project Title: Utica Community Health Center Business Plan Development Project
  • Priority Area: Expanding Health Care Coverage
  • Priority Area: Advancing Primary Care
  • Grant Amount: $99,993
  • Date Awarded: March 26, 2012
  • Region: Central New York
  • Region: Finger Lakes
  • Website: http://www.rpcn.org/
  • Grant Status: Complete

Overview

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—are on the front lines of primary care. 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.

NYSHealth issued a Request for Proposals and awarded 10 grants to help community health centers in four medically underserved regions—Long Island, Western New York, Central New York, and the Finger Lakes—take practical steps to build capacity to better meet the growing need for primary care services.

Regional Primary Care Network (RPCN) serves six counties at 23 different sites across upstate NY. One site, the Utica Community Health Center (UCHC), opened in November 2010 and immediately found itself operating at near capacity, providing 15,000 medical and 9,000 dental visits a year. Although there are more than 32,000 Medicaid recipients in Oneida County, only one other open practice in the city of Utica offers primary care services to Medicaid-insured residents. With this NYSHealth grant, UCHC undertook an expansion plan to better meet the needs of its patients, 76% of whom have incomes below 200% of the Federal Poverty Line and 30% of whom are refugees. Funding supoorted planning and site review, a business plan to increase the site’s productivity and efficiencies, and development of effective strategies for maximizing staffing, patient mix, billing, service mix, and reimbursement streams. These activities prepared UCHC to double its physical capacity.