The Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC) has provided $1 million in financing for infrastructure investments at the Connecticut-based Community Health & Wellness Center (CHWC) of Greater Torrington, an area deeply affected by the opioid crisis. [See media coverage in the Hartford Business Journal and the Register Citizen.]
By enabling new staff hires, IT upgrades, and other growth measures, the financing helps CHWC improve care integration and track care delivery — and ultimately, better address health outcomes of patients amidst a growing opioid epidemic.
The project is the first to be financed through the Transformation Loan Fund, a PCDC pilot program that provides flexible financing for pressing infrastructure needs, allowing community health centers to focus on core health services.
“CHWC’s role in safeguarding the health of thousands cannot be overstated,” said Anne Dyjak, Managing Director at PCDC. “We first worked with CHWC in 2013, PCDC’s first financing project outside of New York State. This newest initiative is a natural extension of the partnership, and we are delighted to help CHWC as they respond to the critical needs of their community with integrated care and services.”
CHWC is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in the rural northwest corner of Connecticut, the only facility of its kind within a 22-mile radius. In addition to providing comprehensive primary medical care, women’s health care, and dental and behavioral health services, CHWC offers HIV, nutrition, and ophthalmology care to the uninsured and underinsured population of Litchfield County. It operates two medical office facilities and seven satellite offices.
The need for quality care is especially urgent in Connecticut, where drug and opioid overdoses have surpassed car accidents as the leading cause of accidental deaths. The epidemic is largely centered in the region that CHWC serves.
In addition to PCDC’s $1 million loan, CHWC was awarded a $175,000 federal grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to fund staff and programmatic costs for treatment of mental health and opioid abuse.
“The prevalence of opioid use and overdose deaths in Connecticut has reached unprecedented levels,” said Joanne Borduas, MSN, MBA, Chief Executive Officer for CHWC. “CHWC is committed to combating the opioid epidemic in the community of Torrington and the northwest corner by helping to increase access to Medication Assisted Treatment with a team of qualified providers. CHWC has partnered with community agencies to assist with psychotherapy and helping patients to change their behaviors toward recovery and well-being. We are committed to combating the opioid epidemic and helping our community work toward systemic change.”
PCDC’s previous financing allowed CHWC to expand its main facility, made possible through a $1.5 million loan as part of a New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) financing. With this most recent financing, CHWC sought to improve its care integration, while also upgrading and improving its electronic medical record platform (EMR) so as to better capture delivery outcomes.
The timing of the financing comes at a critical time for CHWC, which has hired new providers in the face of historic levels of patient visits. As of June 2017, more than 4,000 patients had accessed CHWC’s services over 16,000 visits, reflecting an urgent need for care in the community.
PCDC’s Transformation Loan Fund is designed specifically to address such challenges, providing capital as well as time to adapt and reposition for success in the changing health care environment. As with all PCDC financing, loans are tailored to meet the individual borrower’s specific needs and characteristics.