Speaker Christine C. Quinn, announced $2.75 million has been allocated for Baruch and other neighborhood and school-based clinics throughout the five boroughs at a recent press conference held at Baruch Family Health Center. The Speaker was joined by members of the City Council, HHC Senior Vice President LaRay Brown, Baruch chief physician Dr. Rebecca Simons, and representatives the DOHMH, Primary Care Initiative and other organizations.
The announcement was the result of an effort led by the City Council and HHC to addresses shortages in primary care access. “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.”
The City Council commissioned the Health and Hospitals Corporation to conduct a community health assessment. 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. The findings were summarized in the Primary Care Initiative Community Health Assessment Report in 2008.
The $240,000 funding that Baruch is receiving will enable it to increase capacity to 300 visits per month. Patient volume has increased 180% from last year and Baruch expects to see continued growth as the residents of Baruch Housing become more aware of the Center's services through a partnership with the Department of Health and Mental Services and the New York City Housing Authority.
Dr. Simons summarized the important role that community centers like Baruch play, saying that "Ideally, families should be able to get primary medical care in the neighborhood where they live. 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."