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Press Releases

Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, HHC and DOHMH Announce Primary Care Initiative Update

Feb 04, 2010

New York, NY

In a major development stemming from the Council’s 2008 Primary Care Initiative Report, Speaker Christine C. Quinn, announced $2.75 million has been allocated to 10 neighborhood and school-based clinics throughout the five boroughs. The Speaker was joined by Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) Senior Vice President LaRay Brown, Roger Platt, Assistant Commissioner Pre-School and Adolescent Health at the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Council Members and several members of the Primary Care Initiative working group.
In her 2007 State of the City speech, Council Speaker Quinn announced a commitment to develop additional primary care capacity to neighborhoods where there is a shortage of primary care services. Following her announcement, a working group of advocates, providers and experts comprised of Alianza Dominicana, Asian & Pacific Islander Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Bedford Stuyvesant Family Health Center, Brooklyn Perinatal Network, Caribbean Women’s Health Association, Commission on the Public’s Heath System, Community Healthcare Network, Community Health Care Association of NY, Community Service Society of New York, Hunter College, Institute for Urban Family Health, Korean Community Services of Metro NY, Lehmann College, Make the Road New York, New York City Council Policy Division and Health Committee, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, New York City Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, New York Immigration Coalition, Primary Care Development Corp, Project Hospitality, Ryan/Chelsea-Clinton Community Health Center, The Bronx Health Link, Urban Health Plan and the William F. Ryan Community Health Center convened in order to understand the needs and concerns of the community.
The Council commissioned the Health and Hospitals Corporation to conduct a community health assessment that resulted in the Primary Care Initiative Community Health Assessment report in 2008. The Council, HHC and DOH held community forums throughout the city to listen to the health needs and concerns of the communities that face the most significant shortages of primary care services in addition to pinpointing healthcare services that are in need of improvement and expansion in local clinics.
“Several years ago, the Council wanted to understand what services were lacking in some of the underserved neighborhoods when it came to accessing health care. Through working groups, community forums and outreach we got a better sense what residents needed. One of the most important and responsible ways we as elected officials can improve healthcare is to provide access to quality preventive care, said Speaker Quinn. “I want to thank HHC, DOHMH, PCDC and the working groups for making this such a priority.”
That report informed the Council on ways to address some of the gaps in primary care in the highest need communities and for certain populations in the five boroughs. The outcome of that work was the funding of ten New York City neighborhood and school-based clinics.
The following ten neighborhood/school-based clinics have been awarded funding by the City:

  • Theodore Roosevelt Campus (Bronx)
  • James Monroe High Campus (Bronx)
  • Long Island City High School (Queens)
  • Franklin K. Lane High School (Brooklyn)
  • Wingate Campus (Brooklyn)
  • New Dorp High School (Staten Island)
  • Baruch Family Health Center (Manhattan)
  • Gouverneur Healthcare Services (Manhattan)
  • Springfield Gardens Campus (Queens)
  • Greenpoint Family Health Center (Brooklyn)

“HHC is pleased to have played an active role in the Council’s Primary Care Initiative from its inception,” said LaRay Brown, Senior Vice President, Health and Hospitals Corporation. “We are especially grateful to have had the benefit of the insights of more than 40 community-based organizations as we developed the PCI Community Health Assessment. However, the most critical contribution to our work was that of the 3,000 New Yorkers who provided invaluable information about their experiences in seeking primary care services, service gaps in their neighborhoods and provider to patient interactions. HHC is the single largest provider of primary care in New York City. Our facilities provide nearly 2 million primary care visits per year. We appreciate the Council’s acknowledgment of the importance of HHC’s facilities in its efforts to expand primary care access in underserved neighborhoods.”
“School-based health centers play a significant role in the primary care of public school children and adolescents in New York City,” said Dr. Roger Platt, Assistant Commissioner for school and pre-adolescent health at the New York City Health Department. “They are located in areas of the city with the most need for primary care services, and they deliver these services regardless of insurance or immigration status. We thank Speaker Quinn for her ongoing leadership and commitment to this initiative.”
“The Speaker’s Primary Care Initiative funding today is a good initial step toward tackling the critical lack of primary care for some of New York’s most underserved communities,” said Ronda Kotelchuck, Executive Director, Primary Care Development Corporation. “HHC’s school-based clinics and health centers are vital to providing good primary care to those with the least access to it. Yet much more needs to be done to expand access, improve quality and reduce health care costs. We look forward to working with the City Council and the Mayor on innovative solutions that provide more quality primary care to low-income families, and keep them out of more expensive emergency care.”
The Commission on the Public’s Health System is very pleased about the Primary Care Initiative dollars going to the Baruch Child Health Clinic, said Judy Wessler, Director. We need to ensure that community-based health care services have the resources they require to provide services in medically underserved communities of color.
“Having accessible health care, especially in areas where there are so few, is key in keeping children and families healthy and not having to use the emergency room as a form of getting care,” said Health Committee Chair, Maria del Carmen Arroyo. “This initiative has been crucial to understanding what exactly our communities lack when it comes to healthcare and I’m proud of the work that was been done in order to be able to help our constituents address their health concerns.”
“I want to thank Speaker Quinn for her leadership on this issue,” stated Deputy Majority Leader Leroy Comrie (D-27th District/Queens). “I’m extremely happy that the Council has been able to provide this funding to ensure that New Yorkers will continue to have access to community-based health care services. Lack of access to quality primary care is a major issue in Southeast Queens, where we’ve recently suffered the loss of two major hospitals. The funding that will be directed to the Springfield Gardens clinic will go along way to insure that our constituents won’t have to make difficult choices regarding their health during these tough economic times.”
Minority Leader Oddo said, “I would like to thank Speaker Quinn for recognizing and understanding the depth of the health care challenges we are facing on Staten Island and offering important solutions that, while not a panacea that will solve all our ills, are certainly a strong step in the right direction, particularly when added to other important initiatives previously announced.”
“Ideally, families should be able to get primary medical care in the neighborhood where they live,” said Dr. Rebecca Simmons, Chief Physician, at the Baruch Family Health Center. “The existence of the Baruch Family Health Center is a crucial part of this, and it is my hope that it will continue to grow. As a family doctor dedicated to community-based healthcare, preventive medicine, and working with whole families, I am committed to building a robust primary care practice to serve the diverse Baruch community.”
The Council through its budget negotiating process allocated $2.75 million for the Primary Care Initiative. After discussions between the Council and DOHMH a plan was formulated which allowed for expense and capital funding to be used to enhance a number of DOH/DOE High School – School-Based Health Clinics (SBHCs) as well as use a portion of the funding to fill HHC’s Citywide SBHC gap and health centers.

Baruch Family Health Center (Expense Funding for FY’10 = $240k)

With the support of the PCI grant, the Baruch Family Health Center (BFHC) has undertaken a considerable programmatic transformation. The BFHC now has a fully bilingual staff which includes a dynamic family medicine practitioner. The scope of services available at the Center has also expanded from providing pediatric services to a more comprehensive range of primary care services including adolescent health, adult medicine and gynecology. Evening hours are available. BFHC’s patients and the community have responded very favorably to the new physician, expanded scope and improved access. The Center is working closely with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and NYCHA to bring greater awareness to Baruch Housing residents of the importance of obtaining routine health care and having a medical home. BFHC expects to gain new patient referrals from this initiative.
BFHC’s patient volume has increased 180% from last year. During the last three months of calendar year 2009, BFHC’s team provided an average of 250 visits per month. BFHC’s goal is to increase patient volume to 300 visits per month or, on an annual basis, 3,600 visits. New patient enrollment has also increased markedly from prior years. BFHC expects to see continued growth as the residents of Baruch Housing become more aware of the Center’s services.

Contact: Ian Michaels (212) 788-3339