May 19, 2022

Expanding Primary Care and Behavioral Health Services in Western New York

The Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC) recently financed the expansion of two Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) in Western New York. The Chautauqua Center (TCC) in Dunkirk, New York received $7 million to expand its current location, and Neighborhood Health Center of Western New York (Neighborhood) received $19 million to expand two locations in Buffalo, New York. PCDC financed both projects through allocations of New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) and loans from the NYS Community Health Care Revolving Capital Fund (NYS Fund).

In rural communities, access to care is one of the most urgent health care problems, driven by provider shortage, lack of resources, and threats to the financial stability of rural practices. Both TCC and Neighborhood operate within Medically Underserved Areas and Populations (MUA/P) and Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA) in Dunkirk and Buffalo, respectively.

TCC provides comprehensive and integrated primary medical, dental, and behavioral health services to low-income residents of largely-rural Chautauqua County and surrounding communities. Chautauqua County has the seventh-highest percentage of individuals living in poverty in New York state, with a poverty rate of 18.2% compared to the state’s rate of 14.1%.

Specifically, TCC’s expansion will:

  • Integrate and expand medical, women’s health, behavioral health, and dental services to one location
  • Add OB/GYN, psychology, and optometry services
  • Double the number of dental operatories and triple the number of behavioral health counseling rooms and primary care exam rooms
  • Add 10 clinicians, including two primary care providers, four behavioral health specialists, two dentists, and two hygienists
  • Increase the number of support staff to assist clinicians and provide additional outreach
  • Include telehealth infrastructure to ensure it can provide specialty services
  • Provide a community kitchen and Board and training rooms
  • Improve the effectiveness and efficiency of its processes and layouts to better meet value-based targets

“By consolidating locations, TCC will benefit from having streamlined operations and service delivery, along with additional providers and capacity to better serve the needs of our community,” noted Michael Pease [pictured], CEO of TCC. PCDC is providing $7 million of NMTC allocation and a $1 million loan from the NYS Fund towards the project.

Neighborhood is the largest FQHC in Western New York, providing primary medical care, OB-GYN, behavioral health, dental, nutrition, podiatry, pharmacy, and supportive services to underserved and uninsured populations in the Buffalo area. Neighborhood is serving approximately 28,000 patients through 113,000 visits annually at four primary care locations, which operate within low-income, majority minority communities. According to HRSA, 62% of Neighborhood’s patients are racial and/or ethnic minorities, and 94% of patients live at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guideline.

Neighborhood’s expansion will include the renovation and expansion of an existing site, and the construction of a new facility. Specifically, they will:

  • Acquire, renovate, and expand upon its Mattina Center, including constructing a new 15,000 square foot building to expand dental services, increase clinical and outreach services, optimize space for care management, and expand clinical services
  • Construct the new Riverway Center, which will include 17 exam rooms, eight dental operatories, four counseling rooms, and a 2,800 square foot pharmacy. The site will also include a community kitchen and garden to promote health and wellness education.

“Erie County is among the least healthy counties in New York State,” said Joanne Haefner [pictured], Neighborhood’s President and CEO. “Our current facilities are at capacity, and this expansion will allow us to provide preventive care and other vital health services for our underserved patient population.” The total project will cost $19 million; PCDC will be $10 million of NMTC and a $2.5 million loan from the NYS Revolving Capital Fund. The balance of the financing will come from other CDEs and lenders.

“Western New York has long needed vital health care services,” said William O’Brien, Chief Lending Officer at PCDC. “PCDC understands the value these health centers bring to the people in this part of the state and is proud to partner with them in their expansion efforts.”