Institute for Family Health Purchases Former North General “Annex” – State-of-the-Art Community Health Center to Open in 2012

July 5, 2011 – The Institute for Family Health announced today that it has purchased a six-story building in Harlem previously occupied by North General Hospital located at 1824 Madison Avenue. The Institute purchased the building from a holding company formed by the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) immediately after it took possession of the facility from North General Hospital pursuant to an order by the bankruptcy court. The Institute was awarded $15.2 million in New York State HEAL funds last October to purchase and renovate the building. The Institute, a network of 17 federally qualified community health centers, will immediately begin the process of expanding and renovating the building to create a state-of-the-art “health care home” for Harlem residents.

“Exactly a year ago, we accepted responsibility for caring for the tens of thousands of patients who previously received care in the clinics of North General Hospital. The NYS Department of Health was determined not to lose the primary care and specialty capacity so needed by the Harlem community,” said Dr. Neil Calman, president and CEO of the Institute for Family Health. “One day after the hospital closed last year, we opened a community health center in the former hospital building, successfully ensuring access to primary care, specialty, mental health and dental services. Soon we’ll have a brand new space designed specifically for a 21st century health center, something that really welcomes patients and takes full advantage of modern technology. In partnership with 1199SEIU, all staff has been trained in state-of-the-art health information technology on the Institute’s Epic electronic health record. As the technology advances to support high quality care, our leadership and staff are dedicated to staying on the cutting edge so that our patients have access to the best healthcare available anywhere, regardless of their ability to pay.”

New York State Health Commissioner Nirav R. Shah, MD, MPH, said: “The model of care this facility will provide is exactly the kind of health care that Governor Andrew Cuomo and the State Health Department are encouraging for New Yorkers — the delivery of patient-centered, integrated care that focuses on improving access, quality and coordination of care, thus reducing avoidable emergency department visits and hospital admissions.”

Commissioner of the Office of Mental Health Dr. Michael Hogan added “The Institute for Family Health has been a leader in the delivery of integrated mental health and primary care services in the State. This new facility will help promote this innovative model of care in a community where better access to full-service primary care is urgently needed.”

The purchase of the building, located at 1824 Madison Avenue on the corner of 119th Street, was accomplished through a complex series of transactions performed by many agencies that remained focused on the goal of providing health care in the Harlem community. The efforts of the Board of the former North General Hospital, the NYS Department of Health, the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, and Local 1199 SEIU, all contributed to the successful transfer. Manatt served as counsel to the Institute throughout the process, providing support from their real estate and health care divisions.

The new health center facility will contain 28 primary care exam rooms, a 15-operatory dental suite for general and specialty dental services, a 14-room counseling center, an 8-room medical specialty suite, a WIC program for pregnant and postpartum nutrition assistance, and a community space for health education and meetings. The center will offer services for children and adults, regardless of ability to pay, and will operate an extended schedule with hours seven days a week, including holidays.

The Institute has already completed architectural plans for the 37,000 square foot building, choosing a design that will support a high-tech, integrated model of health care. Patients will be able to complete medical history information from their home computers and check themselves in when they arrive at the center, reducing wait times. Kiosks will showcase the Institute’s English/Spanish patient portal, known as MyChartMyHealth or MiRecordMiSalud, which allows patients to use any computer to send secure messages to their provider, check lab results, or review their health information. All patient care rooms will be equipped with the Institute’s award-winning electronic health record system.

”Today is a great day for healthcare in Harlem” stated Congressman Charles Rangel, longtime supporter of healthcare in a region whose health statistics cry out for more and better primary care. “We’ve been working hard in Congress to make sure everyone in America can have access to quality, affordable care. I thank Dr. Neil Calman for his leadership and vision for making it a reality in our community. We all look forward to the new center opening as quickly as possible.”

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The Institute for Family Health is a federally qualified health center network with 26 practice sites in New York State. In 2009 all Institute centers received the highest recognition from the National Committee for Quality Assurance as Patient Centered Medical Homes. The Institute also operates two family medicine residency programs in NYC and in Kingston, and several community health promotion programs. The Family Health Center at North General is currently providing approximately 60,000 medical, dental and mental health visits annually. For more information, visit www.institute2000.org.