As Excerpted from The Post-Journal: www.post-journal.com
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said in June that a $650,000 federal Health and Human Services Department grant was secured to start a Federally qualified health center in Chautauqua County. It is scheduled open in October and treat an estimated 5,000 medically underserved residents.
“This is a huge win for Chautauqua County residents that will now have a (FQHC) for the very first time,” Schumer said. “Residents of Chautauqua County have long needed this center, and I applaud the Department of Health and Human Services for stepping up to the plate and providing funding to create it.”
Labeled as a “one-stop shop” for medical access to those with or without insurance, the health center – which had been in discussions and planning for five years – will provide medical and behavior services to thousands in the county. The center will be located in the Graf Building on Central Avenue in Dunkirk, N.Y.
“This federally designated health center just brings a whole opportunity to the county,” said Chautauqua County Health Commissions, Christine Schuyler. “It’s been a long process.”
Schuyler said with a health care provider shortage in the county, the center will provide a variety of services in one location. She added that emergency room visits should decrease – saving room, money and resources for area hospitals.
“In the end it helps lower health care costs,” she said. “It’s a wrap-around service. We make sure referrals are made. … We hook people up with the services they qualify for.”
Chautauqua County in 2007 was recognized as one of the poorest counties in the country without a federally qualified health center. Statistics also showed that the county suffers from diabetes, asthma and heart disease at rates higher than the national average.”