Hudson River HealthCare, a non-for-profit Federally Qualified Health Care (FQHC) system hosted a ribbon cutting today at Southampton Hospital
to commemorate the hospital's opening of a new state-of-the-art health care facility, the Kraus Family Health Center of the Hamptons. The medical center will offer affordable family health, behavioral health, women's health services and dental care to over 3,500 patients on the east end of Long Island.
The ribbon cutting, attended by local, county and New York State officials, marked the end of construction on the 10,000 square foot facility, which began on October 3, 2013.
"It's hard to believe that all of this has come together so fast," New York State Assemblyman Fred Thiele
said. "We've been working for years to try to provide access to primary health care and this new federal clinic model is really the step that I think we've needed on the east end for the past 20 years."
The opening of the center has been made possible through the partnership of various organizations including, HRHCare, Stony Brook Medicine and Southampton Hospital. "This is a good example of multiple levels of government and multiple institutions, in the public sector and the private sector, coming all together to do something really, really important," Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone said.
The federal government has contributed significantly to this establishment and "is providing substantial funding to allow care to be expanded through this FQHC system," according to Suffolk County Legislator Jay H. Schneiderman.
A large portion of the work required to complete the facility was done by Anne Kauffman Nolon, the President and CEO of HRHCare Community Health. She said that this facility is the "foundation for affordable health care," and will strive to provide care to everyone who needs it, regardless of their financial burdens. "Many counties in the United States never saw the wisdom in having a primary care system, but this county did," Nolon said.
The Vice President of Health Systems and the Chief Executive Officer at Stony Brook University
Hospital, Reuven Pasternak spoke on how the medical center will "enhance the lives of patients," by "ensuring access to not only better healthcare, but a better community, in every sense."
To date, the new facility has allowed nearly 800 patients to have made nearly 12,000 medical visits, according to Nolon. Additionally, HRHCare has assisted approximately 15,000 people in enrolling for the affordable care act and serves an average of 39 percent of uninsured patients.
The facility will also provide new doctors and medical personnel with education opportunities through the Family Residency Program. This program will start in July with a group of 6 medical students studying to become family practice practitioners. The center has also provided additional employment opportunities, which now accounts for its medical staff.
President and CEO of Southampton Hospital, Robert S. Chaloner
, said that this medical center "represents a major step forward for the primary care services of the community."