Preserving and Enhancing Primary Care Access in Central Queens
Special Projects Fund
May 7, 2009
Southeast Queens is a community experiencing a serious shortage of primary care, and lack of primary care for these residents often leads to higher rates of nonurgent emergency room use and preventable hospitalizations.
These residents have low incomes, high poverty rates, and poor health statuses and by the end of 2008, the situation in this area worsened. The St. Dominic’s Family Health Center, a primary outpatient center of Mary Immaculate Hospital of Caritas Healthcare, was about to close as Caritas declared bankruptcy. With NYHealth’s support, Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center acquired St. Dominic’s from Caritas and incorporated St. Dominic’s into its Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) network in 2009. This initiative enabled St. Dominic’s to continue operations under new ownership, expand its services, and become self-sustaining.
The Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center (Addabbo) is a nonprofit, federally qualified health center (FQHC) with three clinical sites and one children’s day treatment center in Queens County. NYC Primary Care Initiative identified Southeast Queens as one of 11 communities citywide most in need of primary care investment. The bankruptcy of the Caritas health system threatens access to health care in central Queens and also provides an opportunity to reorganize health care delivery in that borough.Addabbo will take over and operate the St. Dominic Center as an addition to its FQHC network. The St. Dominic facility has the capacity to serve 35,000 to 50,000 patients, but has always operated far below capacity despite the well-documented level of need in the community. The clinic is at imminent risk of closure. If this occurs, the loss of this facility will displace some 4,000 patients and undermine the health status of area residents by reducing the availability of primary care services.
Addabbo is licensed by the State of New York as a Diagnostic and Treatment Center. It operates as an interdisciplinary group practice and maintains active affiliations with local hospitals, and community- and school-based outreach programs. The New York State Department of Health has granted emergency approval to Addabbo to begin operation of the St. Dominic facility and has committed $650,000 to support the acquisition.