Expanding Health Care Coverage

Project Title

Syracuse Community Health Center Expansion Initiative

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Expanding Health Care Coverage

Date Awarded

March 15, 2012


Central 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.

The Syracuse Community Health Center (SCHC) provides a range of health services through a network of 15 sites, including locations serving urban, rural, and school-based populations. As the rate of poverty and Medicaid enrollment has increased in the region, and as fewer providers accept public insurance or offer a sliding-scale of payment, SCHC has absorbed 5,000 new patients in the past two years. However, SCHC’s headquarters is at maximum capacity. This grant from NYHealth funded (1) architectural and engineer work to support construction of a new, expanded headquarters for SCHC, (2) recruitment of clinical staff, and (3) an innovative effort to expand access to primary care through the acquisition of private physician practices interested in operating under SCHC’s umbrella.  Doing so allowed SCHC to expand the base of small practice providers in Central New York that accept Medicaid while expanding the scope of services available to these practices’ patients.