Community health centers provide quality primary and preventive care to some 22 million people in underserved, low-income communities nationwide. TRF has invested over $43 million in community health centers that, nationwide, serve more than 350,000 patient visits annually.
Cheryl Bettigole, the chief medical officer for CompleteCare Health Network has been treating patients with diabetes and other diet-related health conditions for decades, so she has seen firsthand how access to healthy food has impacted the health of her patients. She recalls vividly the words of one long-time patient with diabetes, and a daughter rapidly gaining weight, who said, “Doc, I've got two dollars for dinner for me and the kids tonight and that's mac and cheese or we all go hungry.”
CompleteCare now operates three RiteCare health centers located inside New Jersey supermarkets, including one in the TRF-financed Bottino’s ShopRite in Vineland, NJ. TRF has long supported projects that address the social determinants of health—which includes access to healthy food, affordable housing and quality schools. Locating health centers in supermarkets can create a base from which to offer assistance with healthy shopping and an opportunity to teach patients to prepare healthy meals. What’s more, this location meets people where they are while offering care that is easy to access, available evenings and weekends, doesn’t require an appointment. The clinic sees primarily patients who are farm workers with incomes at or below 200% of federal poverty guidelines.
Pioneering in this field, RiteCare will launch a Diabetes Resource Coordination Center in the Vineland ShopRite, located in the least healthy county of a state where one third of adults are obese. TRF is directing grant dollars from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to support this pilot project, which could be replicated nationwide.
The Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services Center (11th SFHS) in Philadelphia primarily serves residents of public housing throughout the city; 32% of its patients are uninsured and 55% are covered by Medicaid. A national model of innovative care, 11th SFHS is a nurse-managed health center operated by Drexel’s College of Nursing and Health Professionals and Resources for Human Development, a federally qualified health center operator. TRF provided NMTC financing to expand this facility and increase the health center’s capacity by 43% to serve more than 40,000 patient visits per year. As part of its comprehensive approach to care, the addition will include a larger teaching kitchen and fitness center and dedicated studios for yoga and the creative arts. 11th SFHS is also a partner of the Porch Light Initiative, which combines the arts with recovery and healing in distressed Philadelphia neighborhoods.
TRF is part of the Collaborative for Healthy Communities, a $130 million national initiative to provide capital for community health centers. The Collaborative includes TRF, the Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group, Kresge Foundation, Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF), Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC), and Rockefeller Foundation.
As part of the Collaborative for Healthy Communities, TRF financing supported the construction of a new facility for Progressive Community Health Center (PCHC), a nonprofit federally qualified health center, which opened in 2000 to address a significant unmet need for health care for the low-income population of northwest Milwaukee. The nation’s eighth poorest city, Milwaukee is severely distressed and is a medically underserved area. Patient visits at PCHC doubled from 15,000 in 2007 to more than 30,000 in 2013, causing two-month waits for new appointments. This $12 million project will replace PCHC’s inadequate building with a new, modern and efficient, 42,000 square foot, three-story health center with 43 exam rooms and dental chairs. With this expansion, PCHC will hire 34 new staff who will support an additional 30,000 patient visits per year.
Similarly, in Northern California, TRF is helping support the expansion of Shasta Community Health Center, which provides primary medical and dental services, mental health, urgent care, specialty consults, telemedicine, and HIV services. It also specializes in health care for the homeless. The expansion will add 26,000 square feet to its existing clinic to house an additional 24 exam rooms and 8 procedure rooms. A new second and third floor will add a training center for both patient and staff education and flexible conference and meeting rooms.
For public health departments in many states and cities, this access to data has helped inform more specific needs. For example, the Kentucky Department of Public Health is using PolicyMap to give local public health personnel greater knowledge of population characteristics to facilitate response to vulnerable populations in case of an emergency. The department loaded the locations of key preparedness resources and health care providers to view against PolicyMap data points and indicators as well as statewide, county-level data from several Kentucky agencies.