Preserving and Expanding Primary Care Capacity in Wyoming County, New York
Expanding Health Care Coverage
March 15, 2012
Successful implementation of Federal health reform will require expanded primary care access for the estimated 1.2 million New Yorkers who will gain health insurance coverage and for the 1.4 million who will likely remain uninsured.
Community health centers—ranging from a storefront free clinic to sophisticated operations running facilities across a multi-county region—are on the front lines of primary care. But many community health centers struggle with low margins, limited funding, and growing demand. When health reform is fully implemented, community health centers are expected to double capacity to serve 3 million New Yorkers.
NYHealth issued a Request for Proposals and awarded 10 grants to help community health centers in four medically underserved regions—Long Island, Western New York, Central New York, and the Finger Lakes—take practical steps to build capacity to better meet the growing need for primary care services.
The Oak Orchard Community Health Center provides primary care services to rural residents in four counties—Wyoming, Monroe, Genesee, and Orleans—in the Lake Plains region via three health centers, a mobile medical van, and a mobile dental van. In Wyoming County in the past few years, community health care providers have been lost to practice closures and retirement. Dental services continue to be limited, as no dentists in that area will serve publicly insured patients. At the same time, the Wyoming County Community Health System has decided to focus on hospital-based services and close all of its primary care sites, including a pediatric center. This NYHealth grant enabled Oak Orchard to take over the pediatric clinic the county is closing and create a plan to expand adult and dental care in Wyoming County.