Preservation of Primary Care for Suffolk County, Long Island
August 18, 2014
WebsiteSEE GRANT OUTCOMES
Facing unprecedented budget deficits, Suffolk County on Long Island could no longer afford to operate primary care centers in six locations: Brentwood, Patchogue, Shirley, Wyandanch, Riverhead, and Amityville.
Together, these centers serve more than 53,000 mostly low-income patients. Hudson River HealthCare (HRHCare) is a federally qualified health center (FQHC) with a proven track record in acquiring and successfully transitioning troubled health centers into strong and sustainable FQHCs while simultaneously enhancing the services provided by them. At the urging of the New York State Department of Health and local county officials, HRHCare undertook a substantial primary care expansion by transitioning the six Suffolk County centers into its FQHC network—an expansion that represented a 50% growth in the number of patients it serves. In 2014, NYHealth awarded HRHCare a grant to build the capacity of its administrative systems to successfully integrate the new clinics into its organizational structure.
Under this grant, HRHCare engaged consultants to provide technical assistance on all aspects of the FQHC transition process. Specific transition activities included staff member trainings on the FQHC and HRHCare models of care; implementation of electronic health records; adoption of policies and procedures to achieve accreditation and patient-centered medical home recognition; review of finances and restructuring systems to achieve financial sustainability; and development of a capital plan to ensure capacity for dental and mental health services. HRHCare developed a white paper to be shared with stakeholders and FQHCs nationally and statewide that summarized the project, including lessons learned and best practices for the transition of multisite, county- and/or hospital-based systems to FQHCs.