Expanding Health Care Coverage

Project Title

Primary Care Expansion in Allegany and Cattaraugus Counties

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Expanding Health Care Coverage

Date Awarded

March 12, 2012


Finger Lakes

Western NY






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.

Southern Tier Community Health Center (STCHCN) operated in three sites across Cattaraugus and Allegany counties, two of the more rural and impoverished counties in New York State. The region has very limited sources of primary care, with few doctors serving the community. STCHCN is the only primary care provider in the region that serves all patients, without regard to ability to pay. STCHCN grew quickly to meet these needs, but was faced with extremely cramped space and a four-week wait for new patient appointments.  NYHealth’s funds supported the center’s move to an expanded site, with the potential to double its patient capacity.