U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons, and Congressman John Carney (all D-DE) praised the awarding of a 2-year, $1.2 million federal New Access Point (NAP) grant to Westside Family Healthcare to open a community health center in Middletown. The grant, funded by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, was announced at a press conference this morning at Westside's Wilmington location.
The new Middletown community health center, scheduled to open in Fall 2012, will serve a target population of nearly 21,000 individuals in southern New Castle County and northern Kent County, 51% of whom have incomes below the Federal Poverty Level and 23% of whom lack health insurance.
Westside Family Healthcare's Middletown location will implement its comprehensive patient-centered medical home model, including providing primary medical care for newborn to geriatric patients, perinatal care, women's health, and behavioral health services. Through partnerships and contracts with local health providers and through referral to other Westside Family Healthcare locations, patients of the Middletown site will also have access to dental, podiatry, endocrinology, and ophthalmology services.
"In order to strengthen our health care system, we must keep people as healthy as possible and prevent them from becoming sick in the first place," said Sen. Tom Carper. "Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Westside Family Healthcare will greatly reduce the number of Delawareans suffering from common, costly -- and often preventable -- diseases which, in turn, will reduce our country's health care costs. Over the years, I have seen first-hand the vital role that these Community Health Centers play in our nation's health care delivery system by providing access to primary care and preventive health services for uninsured and under-insured Americans in Delaware and across the country. This is why I am so thrilled that Westside has received this new grant, which will allow more Delawareans in Middletown and surrounding areas to receive access to health care services."
"All Delawareans deserve to have access to affordable basic health care no matter where they live in the state," Senator Coons said. "Due to the changing demographics of Delaware, our health care facilities have to adapt to ensure they are properly serving our residents. Westside Family Healthcare has been a leader in our state's Community Health Centers and this federal funding will help them to continue to treat those who are underserved in our health care system. Congratulations to Westside Family Healthcare for today's announcement and I look forward to seeing its positive impact on our community."
"I'm pleased that Delawareans in the Middletown area will now have access to the high quality services Westside Health offers," said Congressman Carney. "Delaware's federally qualified health centers provide critical services to the uninsured and underinsured throughout our state. Throughout my career, I have worked hard to help our FQHCs execute their mission across Delaware and Westside's new office in Middletown will provide thousands of additional Delawareans with these critically needed services."
Westside Family Healthcare's President & CEO Lolita Lopez stated, "The greater Middletown community has grown rapidly over the past several years, yet access to affordable quality healthcare has not grown at the same rate as this diverse, high need community. The funding announced today will enable us to continue to fulfill our mission of providing equal access to quality healthcare to those most in need, bridging the gap in critical healthcare services for this community."
The Health Resources and Services Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the primary federal agency responsible for improving access to health care services people who are uninsured, isolated, or medically vulnerable. For more information on Health Resources and Services Administration's community health center program, visit http://bphc.hrsa.gov/. To find a health center in the area, visit http://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov.