CONGRESO INTRODUCES ITS FEDERALLY-QUALIFIED HEALTH CENTER TO PUBLIC
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Health Center to Provide New, Comprehensive Primary Care Options in Eastern North Philadelphia
PHILADELPHIA – Congreso de Latinos Unidos, in partnership with Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC), unveiled its new federally-qualified health center (FQHC) to the public and members of the media during a full-day open house on Wednesday, April 4, 2012, from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 216 W. Somerset Street.
The event provided area residents with an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the health center’s services and bilingual/bicultural staff. Attendees were also invited to participate in family-friendly activities including face-painting, Zumba classes, and cooking demonstrations using healthy food alternatives. “We wanted the day to be informative as well as fun,” said Waleska Maldonado, Senior Vice-President of Health for Congreso. “We wanted to introduce the health center so that members of the public know they have a place within their own community to receive comprehensive quality care, regardless of their insurance or immigration status…that we can be a key resource for individuals as well as families.”
“We’re proud to partner with Congreso on this initiative,” said Richard Cohen, President and CEO of PHMC. “We recognize the importance of equal access to quality care as the primary step in building healthier communities and in the overall improvement of public health.”
Event speakers included Cynthia Figueroa, President & CEO, Congreso; Richard Cohen, President & CEO, PHMC; Henry Lopez, Jr., CAPT, United States Public Health Service; Joanne Grossi, Regional Director, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS); Tine Hansen-Turton, CEO, National Nursing Centers Consortium (NNCC), Chief Strategy Officer, PHMC; and Waleska Maldonado, SVP, Health, Congreso. The Eastern North Philadelphia location of the community health center site has been classified as a medically underserved area by the US Department of Health and Human Services. Twenty percent of the residents are uninsured and 54% live below the poverty line, while 82% have incomes under 200% of the federal poverty level.
The health center comes after three years of strategic planning from PHMC, Congreso and NNCC. It is a significant expansion of the services PHMC already provides, including its work as the Health Care for the Homeless grantee in Philadelphia, as well as the integrated social services that Congreso has provided this underserved community for 35 years.
“The presence of this health center is a key step for the overall improvement of this community,” said Congreso President and CEO Cynthia Figueroa. “Access to primary care services is a fundamental part of the overall wellness of a community, and has bearing on its ability to overcome other barriers. The FQHC will allow us to serve this community in so many ways.”