Virginia Beach, Virginia
- July 31, 2006
- After more than two years of planning, Virginia Beach will soon have a new primary care doctors office in a corridor where almost none exist today. While a long way from its roots in Newport News, Sentara Health Foundation
awarded a $300,000 grant to Peninsula Institute for Community Heath (PICH) to expand to the Southside with a primary care community health center in a medically under-served area of Virginia Beach.
PICHs expertise running three sites in Hampton Roads and a nearly 30-year track record seemed a good fit for Virginia Beach.
Funding will cover salaries of a physician, nurse, medical assistant, and receptionist, making possible much needed primary care services for an expected 1,000 adults and children within the centers first two years. Care will be affordable for uninsured and underinsured patients, provided on a sliding fee scale based on income and family size.
"An enormous unmet need for primary care services exists in this area of Virginia Beach. By providing the right care in the right setting, we believe we will be helping those in need lead healthier lives," says Dr. Syed Kalamuddin, Chief Executive Officer of Peninsula Institute for Community Health.
Known for providing Peninsula residents accessible and affordable health services, Peninsula Institute for Community Healths newest primary care center is expected to open in 2007. The center will be located within a medically under-served area of Virginia Beach, likely between Bird Neck and First Colonial Roads.
According to the 2000 Census, about 44% of the 20,633 individuals living within the centers proposed service area have incomes at or below 200% of poverty, and approximately 12.6% have no insurance. The centers location in a medically underserved location means patients who are not currently under the care of a physician will have the option of selecting one nearer home who is accepting new patients.
"I am excited this clinic will soon be offering the elderly and medically under-served quality, cost-effective health care when they need itbefore an issue becomes urgent," says Dr. Venita Newby-Owens, MPH, Director of Virginia Beach Department of Public Health. "I believe this clinic will elevate health status of the entire community," she continues.
Making the dream of improved access to care in Virginia Beach a reality results from a two-year community collaboration involving Access Partnership, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Samaratin House, Sentara Healthcare, The Planning Council, United Way of South Hampton Roads, Virginia Beach Department of Health, faith-based groups, and residents.
Caring people come together from nearby neighborhoods, the city, and community organizations to greatly improve the health of this community. Through their generosity, the center is being outfitted with medical and office supplies so this grant will be used exclusively for direct patient care, says Gina Pitrone, Director of Sentara Health Foundation.
Opening in 2007, the center will help fill the gaps in health care identified in the 2004 Hampton Roads Community Health Assessment
sponsored by Sentara Health Foundation. Findings from the 2004 study
Top 5 Gaps in care identified by the study are access to: basic health services; chronic care; mental health and substance abuse services; maternal and infant services; and oral health services
While 97,000 area residents are uninsured with income below 200% of poverty, free clinics and community health centers serve only about 33,000 of that population a year;
Nearly 25,000 uninsured residents live in Virginia Beach
Uninsured adults are 25% more likely to die prematurely; 49/2006