Special Projects Fund

Project Title

Expanded Medical and Dental Services for Uninsured

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Special Projects Fund

Date Awarded

November 15, 2007


Finger Lakes




According to the U.S. Census, 22,352 residents of the three counties served by Health Ministry of the Southern Tier (HMST) are uninsured. Steuben County is a rural area with three primary population centers: Corning, Bath, and Hornell. The Western region of Steuben County, Hornell, is a relatively poor community that remains underserved by HMST. To address this part of Steuben County, the United Way of the Southern Tier (United Way) and Excellus BlueCross Blue Shield of Central New York (Excellus) requested that HMST establish a fifth center in Hornell to provide free medical and dental care to people with incomes below 200% of the Federal poverty level.

The Health Ministry of the Southern Tier is a federation of health care centers: Elmira, Chemung County; Corning, Steuben County; Bath, Steuben County; and Watkins Glen, Schuyler County. It is a nonprofit, volunteer organization of medical, dental, and auxiliary staff, providing health services free of charge to uninsured persons with an annual family income below 200% of the Federal poverty level.

In 2006, the Health Ministry of the Southern Tier recorded 2,476 patient visits at four health care centers, helping patients to obtain 760 free prescription medications through the Center’s Pharmaceutical Assistance Program, and dispensing more than 1,000 sample medications. This was a 20% increase in patient visits over 2005. For the first six months of 2007, patient visits have paralleled those of 2006.

NYHealth support will help establish a fifth health care center in Hornell to serve western Steuben County, and enable the Health Ministry to hire a full-time director of operations and development to improve its existing services, attract more patients, and raise additional funds. The additional resources will expand primary care capacity for an underserved population.