North Country Family Health Center (NCFHC) will join over 1,400 other Community Health Centers across the United States in celebrating National Health Center Week, August 4-10, 2019. The theme of this year’s celebration is, “Celebrating America’s Health Centers: Rooted in Communities.”
The first Community Health Centers, also known as Federally Qualified Health Centers, were established in the United States more than 50 years ago by community residents and healthcare providers who believed that everyone should have access to quality healthcare no matter who they are, where they live, or their ability to pay. This movement launched healthcare services, and a variety of healthcare providers, into medically underserved areas all across the country. Today, Community Health Centers are located in over 10,000 communities in every state and territory and the District of Columbia and serve over 28 million people. Nearly half of Community Health Centers are located in rural communities.
“We are on the front lines of national public health challenges and are proud of the access we are able to provide to our patients – whether caring for a mom who just gave birth, administering immunizations to a teen, or providing healthcare to those adults who suffer from chronic disease, we are making an impact on our community,” states Joey Marie Horton, Chief Executive Officer, NCFHC. “We have been rooted in this community for over 47 years – first by focusing on children’s access to healthcare and nutrition services through the WIC Program and now by focusing on serving the entire family – infant, parents, and grandparents under our new medical model as a Federally Qualified Health Center. We served just over 11,000 patients in 2018 who made nearly 38,000 visits to our medical, dental, and behavioral health programs; an additional 5,000 families were served by our WIC Program and we provided insurance enrollment assistance to nearly 4,000 families.” NCFHC is a Patient-Centered Medical Home and a Federally Qualified Health Center – designations that reflect quality of care and a commitment to breaking down barriers and providing healthcare access to all. NCFHC is one of 70 Community Health Centers in New York State, delivering services to over 2.3 million patients annually via 800 delivery sites within the state. NCFHC has nine permanent delivery sites and provides preventative oral healthcare services via a mobile School-Based Dental Program throughout six school districts in Jefferson and Lewis Counties.
“We have 125 individuals who come to work each day in positions including clinicians, nurses, social workers, dentists, dental hygienists, care coordinators, and many more, who work together to provide high quality, integrated healthcare to all of our patients,” states Barbara Fargo, RN, Clinical Operations Officer. “Our staff work together to address all factors that may contribute to poor health including, lack of nutrition, transportation, and stable housing. In addition to pediatric care our providers and staff work together to ensure the entire family’s needs are taken care of from women’s health, to chronic adult diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Our model is one of integration – not only do we provide primary care we also provide integrated oral health and behavioral health services.”
On Wednesday, August 7th from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. NCFHC will be hosting its own event in recognition of National Health Center Week, “Family Day: Celebrating Community Wellness,” at their main facility located at 238 Arsenal Street, Watertown. The event is free and open to the public. The day is planned around education and fun for all – vendors include each department and service of North Country Family Health Center (medical, dental, behavioral health, WIC, insurance assistance and school-based services) as well as representatives from Jefferson County Public Health; the Watertown Family YMCA; Healthy Families of North Country Prenatal Perinatal Council; Transitional Living Services; MVP Healthcare; United Healthcare; Fidelis Care; and River Wellness. NCFHC staff will be providing free blood pressure checks and fluoride varnish applications as well as assistance with insurance questions and enrollment. Jefferson County Public Health will have information on adult and child immunizations and will be giving out information on tick born disease prevention. The Watertown YMCA will have diabetes and senior health information available and representatives from Healthy Families will be on-site to check proper installation of car seats. To assist those women who have previously experienced barriers to healthcare NCFHC has partnered with the SUNY Upstate Mobile Mammography Program to offer on-site, easily accessible mammograms via their mobile mammography van. (Mammograms will be pre-scheduled with current NCFHC patients, women 40 and over who have not had a mammogram within the last 12 months. Any NCFHC patient interested in scheduling a mammogram should contact Felicia Parker, Population Health Program Manager at 315.782.9450, x8082.) Froggy 97 will be on-site from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. and a variety of raffle prizes will be offered to those who attend too.