HELP/PSI & PCDC Partner to Expand Primary Care in South Bronx

PCDC financing will help build new health center and expand behavioral health and substance abuse services. Press Release, August 24, 2011

Contact for HELP/PSI: Jose Quizhpi, HELP/PSI, 718-681-8700 x 2131,

(BRONX, NY) HELP/PSI is expanding primary, preventive and behavioral health services for hundreds of at-risk South Bronx residents through the development of the new CitiWide Harm Reduction Health and Wellness Center. 

With a loan from the Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC), and in partnership with CitiWide Harm Reduction, HELP/PSI will develop the 1,750-square-foot clinic on the third floor of CitiWide’s 226 East 144th Street location in the South Bronx. The location will provide a medical home for the drop-in center’s at-risk patients, including homeless, HIV/AIDS, substance abuse and behavioral health patients.

“It is incredibly challenging for our patients—many of whom are homeless or dealing with substance abuse or behavioral health issues—to have access to primary and preventive care from traditional providers,” said Paul Vitale, President & CEO, of HELP/PSI. “Along with Robert Cordero, CitiWide Executive Director and a great team of professionals, we will be able to fill a void for this underserved population”. 

“We are delighted to work with PCDC to develop a new health center that connects our at-risk patients to primary care, This is an essential step toward reducing harm and maintaining good health for our patients,” added Carol Murphy, COO of HELP/PSI.

Upon completion in January 2012, the health center will include two treatment rooms, a reception and intake area, and a medical office. The renovation will enable new services, such as psychiatric care, substance use counseling, HIV care and testing, and preventive dental care, as well as intensive patient outreach and referral coordination for these services.

“It is with the most complex and at-risk populations that good, effective primary care can have the most impact.  This project demonstrates an effective response to the community’s needs,” said Ronda Kotelchuck, PCDC’s Executive Director. “HELP/PSI and CitiWide’s partnership captures the changing direction of our healthcare system—one that truly integrates traditional primary care with special services to establish a true patient-centered medical home.”

PCDC, a nonprofit lender that finances primary care in underserved communities, provided the $357,000 loan through its Target Loan Fund. The fund provides low-cost loans up to $500,000 to make improvements, such as replacing old equipment, purchasing health IT or billing systems, or adding exam rooms. The Target Loan Fund was launched in 2003 with funding assistance from the Mizuho Corporate Bank (USA).

About HELP/PSI Services Corp. ( HELP/PSI’s Diagnostic and Treatment Centers in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens, offer a full practice of general and specialized primary medical treatment and prevention services to people with limited access to healthcare; such as low income and uninsured populations, those with limited English proficiency and individuals and families experiencing homelessness. HELP/PSI provides specialized care, available to all people living with HIV/AIDS. HELP/PSI’s Primary Care at CitiWide offer a new concept of providing comprehensive, acute and chronic medical care co-located in a harm reduction center. The center enables patients to establish a provider-patient relationship and provides them with true continuity of care. In short, it will provide comprehensive medical care from acute medical issues, to expert care for chronic illness, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart problems, and HIV/AIDS. HELP/PSI’s medical team assures patients understand their medical services, answers all patient and care provider questions, and assists in finding the necessary resources needed for healthier outcomes. Primary Care serves adult populations and accepts Medicaid, Medicare, ADAP, Amidacare, Select Health, and other insurance providers. HELP/PSI also offers a sliding scale.

About CitiWide Harm Reduction ( Founded in 1995, CitiWide Harm Reduction is a 7-day a week community-based syringe exchange drop-in center, located in the heart of the South Bronx. CitiWide’s mission is to improve the health, social and economic status of active drug users who are homeless or unstably housed. Annually, CitiWide serves 3,000 program participants. Through years of outreach and relationship building, CitiWide has earned unique access to the hardest to reach and serve populations: very low income, chronically homeless and unstably housed active drug users living with or at high risk for HIV, hepatitis, and other conditions. In 2009, CitiWide launched an innovative strategic partnership with HELP/PSI, a high quality healthcare and HIV services provider, through which the organization has connected over a thousand homeless and unstably housed active drug users to primary health care. With HELP/PSI, in fall 2011 HELP/PSI will open the groundbreaking CitiWide Harm Reduction Health and Wellness Center on the 2nd floor of CitiWide’s drop-in center, offering comprehensive primary, psychiatric and HIV/HCV specialty care and providing a medical home to many homeless persons not currently in care.

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