The Institute for Family Health broke ground today for a major expansion of its Walton Family Health Center, a popular community health facility originally built in cooperation with St. Edmund’s Episcopal Church.
The center is expected to serve over 15,000 patients annually when the expanded facility opens in 2012. The New York State Department of Health is the main funder of the renovation/expansion, which will add 11,000 square feet to the existing 5,175 square foot building, expanding the center from six to 18 medical exam rooms and three to seven dental operatories. The project will also add an eight-room mental health suite, a training/conference room and a roof garden.
On Wednesday morning, government officials joined community members to break ground for the building expansion. Speakers included State Assemblymember Nelson Castro of the Bronx’s District 86; Jaime Torres, Region II Director of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department; Phyllis Longsworth-Lewis, warden of St. Edmund’s; and Ronda Kotelchuk, executive director of the Primary Care Development
“The State is proud to support the project celebrated today,” said Dr. Nirav R. Shah, New York State’s Commissioner of Health, in a statement. “The State Health Department has long been a partner of the Institute for Family Health. More than ever, health care that is accessible, affordable, and of high quality – like the care delivered by the Walton Center – is critical to the well-being of New Yorkers.”
The Walton Family Health Center is one of 17 health centers operated by the Institute for Family Health across New York State. As federally qualified community health centers, Institute centers offer comprehensive primary care to patients of all ages, regardless of their ability to pay. The remodeled and expanded center is expected to care for 10,000 more residents of Mt. Hope, University Heights, and West Tremont annually, including many who may gain insurance as a result of the 2010 Affordable Care Act. The renovated building will be certified by the U.S. Green Building Council.
“When we opened the Walton Family Health Center in 1998, there was a tremendous need for better access to primary health care in this neighborhood,” said Dr. Neil Calman, the president and CEO of the Institute for Family Health, and a family physician who practices at the Walton center. “The new facility will focus on patients’ experience, and will include self-serve kiosks and a concierge model of care. It will also allow us to optimize the use of the Institute’s award winning Epic electronic health record system.”
The Institute for Family Health is a federally qualified health center network with 26 practice sites in New York State. In 2009 all Institute centers received the highest recognition from the National Committee for Quality Assurance as Patient Centered Medical Homes. The Institute also operates two family medicine residency programs and several community health promotion programs. For more information, please visit here.
Photo caption: from L to R: Yvonne Eisner (Bronx Clinical Director, IFH), Assemblymember Nelson Castro, Neil Calman, Phyllis Longsworth Lewis, Jaime Torres and Maxine Golub (Sr. VP Planning and Development, IFH).