Bronx Assemblymember Sepulveda Joins with Institute For Family Health to Celebrate Renovation and Expansion of Former Soundview Healthcare Clinic

stevenson1

Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda joined with officials of the Institute for Family Health and its Stevenson Family Health Center in Soundview, the Bronx, on Thursday, Sept. 8 to announce major funding to the health center for its renovation and expansion.

Assemblyman Sepulveda, in collaboration with Senator Diaz, is providing $250,000 in state funding to the clinic at 731 White Plains Road for equipment, furniture, computers and telephones as it continues major renovations and expansion.

Residents of Soundview, Parkchester and West Farms were facing the loss of affordable health care services when the Soundview Healthcare Network run by former State Senator Pedro Espada closed in the summer of 2012.

The Institute for Family Health, a private non-profit which runs a number of clinics in the Bronx, Manhattan and Mid-Hudson Valley, quickly stepped in to secure the building lease, began serving the displaced patients and commenced extensive renovations and expansion.

“I have major concerns for the health of the people of my district, many of them low-income and poor who have a number of health issues,” said Assemblyman Sepulveda. “Quality health care is critical, and I had major concerns after the closing of the Soundview Healthcare clinic.

“Thankfully, The Institute for Family Health quickly stepped in to save the day. I can’t say enough about the excellent service it now provides to my constituents,” he said. “This funding will hopefully contribute to strengthening that service even more as the clinic completes its renovations and expansion.”

“I join with my legislative colleague in praising the wide variety of health care services the Stevenson Family Health Center provides to the constituents of my district,” Senator Diaz said in a statement. “I am proud to be a strong supporter of their efforts in their renovation and expansion.”

Dr. Neil Calman, president and CEO of the Institute for Family Health, said, “I am thrilled by the support we have received from Assesmblymember Sepulveda. His efforts to obtain funds to help furnish and equip the Stevenson Family Health Center speak to his commitment to the Soundview community and his understanding of the importance of access to primary health care. We are very appreciative and will honor that commitment by providing community residents with the best care possible.”

“This center is so important to the community, which is really very isolated geographically,” said Dr. Alba Pumarol, who has served as the center’s medical director since the Institute opened it in 2012. “It is so much better now — we have 30 exam rooms and seven dental chairs. Soon we will have eight counseling rooms and an immediate care suite. I believe the new rooms, with the new furnishings and equipment, make a real difference in how patients feel. We are very grateful to Assemblymember Sepulveda for his help.”

The Stevenson Family Health Center primarily serves residents of the Soundview, Parkchester and West Farms neighborhoods (zip codes 10460, 10462, 10472, and 10473), which are designated as Medically Underserved Areas and Health Professional Shortage Areas.

The service area’s population primarily consists of African American and Hispanic residents who face significant health problems, including high rates of diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression. Approximately half of Soundview residents report family incomes lower than $30,000 and more than a third have less than a high school education. Alarmingly, more than one quarter of community residents report not having a doctor.

History and Need for Services:

In the summer of 2012, the Soundview community was threatened by the closing of the Soundview HealthCare Network’s flagship community health center at 731 White Plains Road, which had provided affordable, comprehensive health services to Soundview residents for over 30 years.

Following that center’s closing, the Institute for Family Health immediately sought the building lease, as well as state and federal approvals, to open a new community health center in the same space. On August 14, 2012, the Institute’s efforts came to fruition, and the new Stevenson Family Health Center opened its doors to patients of all ages, successfully averting displacement of patients previously served by Soundview HealthCare Network. The Institute was initially able to provide 33,000 medical, behavioral health and dental visits annually in the 9,000 usable square feet of the 36,000 square foot space. The center is open from 8am-8pm Monday through Saturday.

Renovation and Expansion:

Recognizing the need to significantly expand access to primary care in the Soundview community, The Institute immediately began making plans to rehabilitate the entire 36,000 square foot space, much of which had fallen into disrepair.

The Institute’s vision was to create a state-of-the-art “patient centered medical home” for Soundview residents of all ages, regardless of ability to pay. To date, it has renovated the medical and dental care suites. In coming months, it will renovate the mental health suite, lobby and common areas; and add a new immediate care suite to the first floor.

Once this large-scale renovation is complete, the revitalized Stevenson Family Health Center will comprise 30 medical exam rooms; seven behavioral health counseling offices and one group room; and seven dental operatories.

“The renovated center will accommodate many more patients than before,” said Dr. Eric Gayle, Regional Medical Director at the Institute for Family Health, who provided care to patients in Parkchester for 14 years before moving his practice to Stevenson. “And it is gorgeous – a pleasure for patients to come to, and for providers to work in. Patients of all ages can receive primary medical care, dental care and behavioral health care here, regardless of their ability to pay.”

By 2018, Institute officials estimate that the center will provide over 46,000 visits annually. Based on current volume, it expects that as many as 62% of the approximately 12,000 patients to be served by the renovated center will be Medicaid beneficiaries; another 9% will be uninsured, making the Institute the largest provider of affordable primary health care services in the Soundview Peninsula.

The Institute for Family Health:

The Institute for Family Health is a private, non-profit, federally qualified community health center (FQHC) with an outstanding reputation for innovation and excellence in primary health care services, including mental health and oral health.

The Institute provides high-quality, culturally competent and affordable primary health services to medically underserved populations in three service area regions of New York State: the Bronx, Manhattan and the Mid-Hudson Valley, about 90 miles north of New York City.

In addition to its health centers, the Institute operates an array of training, community outreach and social service programs designed to meet the healthcare and workforce development needs of medically underserved communities. Its three family medicine residency programs train about 90 residents per year.

With about 1,200 full-time and part-time staff members, the Institute operates 20 full-time and seven part-time practices in counties. It serves over 98,000 patients who make approximately 575,000 primary car, mental health care and dental visits annually. No patient is turned away, regardless of their financial situation.

Print Friendly
Share this Article: