Community Health Center, Inc. (CHC) — Connecticut’s largest Federally Qualified Health Center — celebrated the culmination of an ambitious project this spring: a $47 million expansion of three sites across the state.
Made possible through PCDC financing, the new facilities span a total of 81,400 square feet and expand primary care access to an additional 16,000 low-income patients. The growth will transform an organization that began in a walk-up apartment in 1972 and now serves 140,000 patients nationwide.
With the acquisition and renovation of this 27,000-square-foot facility, CHC has become the largest provider of pediatric care between Boston and New York. An updated layout will accommodate over 48,000 annual patient visits — a 43 percent increase — in a community where pediatric hospitalization rates significantly surpass national averages.
“We had this simple mission [for CHC] — to make sure health care was available to all people, regardless of their class or race or language or orientation, and other historic barriers of discrimination that people in our community face,” said Founder, President, and CEO Mark Masselli.
Visitors to the Middletown location are immediately greeted by a three-story “living wall” of greenery, a reminder of CHC’s commitment to community and combating climate change. This emphasis on innovation extends throughout the entire 31,000-square-foot building, which will house human resources and a sophisticated IT infrastructure, empowering CHC’s more than 200 locations.
Also located in the facility is the renowned Weitzman Institute, a CHC subsidiary focused on medical research, training, telehealth, education programs, and more for health care providers in 37 states. Its new headquarters includes a state-of-the-art film studio that will broadcast national trainings to expand the Institute’s reach.
“We’re engaged in work that improves the health care system,” Masselli said. “This new building impacts our local environment and impacts communities across the country. The local importance is that we continue to provide jobs and develop an infrastructure that is supporting local business, because we employ hundreds of people.”
CHC’s previous Stamford location was overcrowded — patients had to wait at least two weeks to access services. In its bright new facility, CHC will increase patient visits by 146 percent, offering integrated primary care; nutrition counseling; behavioral, dental, and women’s health services; and opioid treatment. Operating jointly, the old and new clinics create a lifeline in a community where 34 percent of residents are low-income or impoverished.
“Quality primary care should be accessible and available in all communities,” said Anne Dyjak, PCDC Managing Director. “CHC has delivered on this promise for nearly a half century, and we are pleased to provide our support to expand primary care services and access, in Connecticut and beyond.”