A primary care provider in Western New York — where rates of HIV, substance use, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) outpace state averages — is undergoing dramatic enhancements, aided by $7 million in financing by the Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC).
Buffalo-based Evergreen Health will not only broaden its primary care services for the underserved, but also integrate treatment for substance use and STIs, both of which impact incidence of HIV.
PCDC financed the project through New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC), federal tax credits designed to stimulate investment in low-income communities.
Evergreen operates three locations (two in Buffalo and one in Jamestown) to serve New York’s westernmost counties, referred to as the Buffalo-Niagara region. Encompassing nearly 7,000 square miles and 1.5 million individuals, the area faces several health challenges:
- Erie, Niagara, and Chautauqua counties rank 57-59th out of 62 counties in New York for health outcomes
- In 2016, Erie County had the fourth highest number of individuals living with HIV/AIDS, the fifth highest number of new diagnoses of HIV, and the highest number of deaths of persons diagnosed with HIV compared to all New York counties outside of New York City
- Emergency room visits from opioid overdoses in Erie County were double the state average, excluding New York City
Erie County also has some of the highest rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea infections in the state; seven zip codes in Buffalo have more than half of the diagnosed cases of chlamydia in the county
The new financing further solidifies Evergreen as an agent of change. Among the advantages are offset costs for Evergreen’s recently completed 35,000-square-foot addition which houses primary care, HIV treatment, mental and behavioral health services, and more; planned upgrades to Evergreen’s main building, which comprises a syringe exchange program, food pantry, substance use community drop-in center, and medical case management/care coordination; and stronger fiscal health for future expansion.
“We’re extremely thankful that Primary Care Development Corporation and PNC Bank have helped us leverage New Markets Tax Credits to finance updates to our historic Elmwood location,” said Ray Ganoe, President and Chief Executive Officer of Evergreen.
“These much-needed improvements will substantially increase access to services and improve the quality of care we provide to over 9,000 patients, many of whom are living with chronic illnesses or seeking medical, behavioral, or substance use support,” Ganoe said.
Founded in 1983 as an AIDS Service Organization, Evergreen has expanded its focus over the years to offer adult chronic disease management (diabetes, asthma, hypertension, obesity), Hepatitis C treatment, and support services for substance users.
“Evergreen was a pioneer at the onset of HIV/AIDS,” said Anne Dyjak, PCDC Managing Director. “Today their delivery of primary care and full range of services help clients lead healthy, secure, and satisfying lives. We are delighted to provide financing that not only helps make Evergreen’s current expansion more affordable, but also frees up equity to support future growth and expansion of services. The result will be even better health for Western New Yorkers, and all of us at PCDC are proud to take part.”