Community Healthcare Network

Amidst a rising trend of ill children being sent to school knowingly, teachers and school nurses across New York City, including those at schools affiliated with Community Healthcare Network, are witnessing an increase in sick students attending classes. The Cut’s article “Is a Sick Kid Better Than an Absent Kid?” sheds light on this concerning issue. Dr. Taisha Benjamin, Chief Medical Officer at Community Healthcare Network, shared insights during her interview, stating, “Not only are you exposing people in the classroom, now they’re taking it home to their family, to their grandparents, to the person in their home who may have some kind of chronic illness, who may get very sick.”

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In this New York Times piece, Jeneen Interlandi discusses the challenges and progress in addiction treatment, with a focus on opioid addiction. Deborah Manasseh, a Nurse Care Coordinator at Community Healthcare Network, illustrates the complexity of starting patients on buprenorphine, a highly effective opioid addiction treatment. The process requires careful monitoring, empathy, and precise dosing due to the risk of precipitated withdrawal. However, the shortage of specialized nurses like Ms. Manasseh limits the number of patients who can receive timely care.

The article underscores the uneven allocation of funding in addiction treatment, where state and federal grants have been the primary sources of support. This has resulted in financial instability for service providers and has discouraged healthcare professionals from pursuing careers in the field.

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Community Healthcare Network, a nonprofit provider based in Midtown, signed a 35-year lease to establish an expanded federally qualified health center in the South Bronx, the organization announced last week.

The lease, which was secured by advising company Denham Wolf Real Estate Services, will allow the Community Healthcare Network to build an expanded health facility at the 8,000-square-foot location at 1000 Westchester Ave. The FQHC will be about 50% larger than the existing location, said Robert Hayes, president and CEO of the nonprofit.

The building was leased to the Community Healthcare Network for approximately $45 per square foot, totaling $363,000 for the first year of occupancy, Hayes said. Rent costs will increase by 2% annually, he added.

The South Bronx FQHC will be able to accommodate an estimated 4,000 additional medical visits, totaling 16,000 visits a year, Hayes said. The facility will have the capacity for 2,600 annual dental visits. The opening of the new FQHC will mark the first time dental care is offered at the South Bronx location, Hayes added.

The additional space at the new facility will not add medical exam rooms and dental offices and include space for care navigators to support the social and economic needs of patients. Residents of the South Bronx have higher rates of chronic illnesses, such as asthma, diabetes and cardiovascular disease—all of which should be addressed through direct medical care and by directing resources for housing and economic support, Hayes said.

“Health care in a bubble is not very effective,” Hayes said. “You really need to connect the dots.”

The new building will be across the street from its existing location. Hayes said the new location would not change travel times for patients in the South Bronx, preserving continuity of care for its patients.

Christopher Turner, managing director of transaction services and principal with Denham Wolf, said it’s typically a challenge to find the right piece of real estate for FQHCs because they don’t want to disrupt patient care. The new facility’s location across the street eliminates any chances of disruption, he said.

The company configured the terms of the lease over 35 years so that Community Healthcare Network could apply for a tax waiver from the city through the 420C process. Typically, taxes would cost up to 25% of base rent, but this expense has been taken out of the deal and will help CHN save money, Turner said.

The new building will be delivered to Denham Wolf in September, Turner said. The Community Healthcare Network expects to occupy the building by early 2024, Hayes said.

Community Healthcare Network provides healthcare, dental, nutrition, wellness and other services to New Yorkers. The network consists of 14 federally qualified health centers across Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Manhattan, as well as mobile vans that bring care to under-resourced communities.—A.D.

No New Yorker should have to live on the streets. Most individuals who do will, when asked respectfully, tell you that they would rather be living elsewhere. The solution is not intractable: We need to offer viable options for street homeless New Yorkers, and they will then come inside voluntarily for safer, more humane alternatives. These options include independent and supportive housing, stabilization and Safe Haven placements — the kind of private units that allow human beings to heal and grow. These options must include, as needed, mental health care, substance use disorder treatment, and job training and placement. Mental health and addiction programs are essential.

Hallmarks of a Robust Effort by Churches and Their Partners to Provide Vaccinations in Communities of Color

The article by Genine Babakian discusses the challenges of COVID-19 vaccination efforts in communities of color in New York City, particularly among Black and Brown residents. Despite the widespread availability of vaccines, hesitancy remains a significant issue. To address this, Community Healthcare Network (CHN) and Stop the Spread partnered with predominantly Black and brown churches across the city to set up vaccine clinics inside these trusted institutions.

The article highlights that, nationally, vaccination rates varied among racial and ethnic groups, with Black and Hispanic communities facing higher hesitancy rates. It emphasizes the role of trusted community institutions, like churches, in driving vaccine adoption. Beyond vaccines, these churches offered other services, including mental health support, to address the broader needs of their communities.

Image: Krystal Smith registers a community member for the COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination site at The Church of God of East New York. Image courtesy of Stop the Spread.

“The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in southeast Queens has been profound, with a disproportionate death rate among residents last spring well as high positivity rates almost a year later. The lack of health care options available in the community is a prime factor that has been exposed during the coronavirus emergency.

However, help is on the way in the form of a new 15,000-square-foot Tree of Life health clinic that will be coming to 89-46 164th St. in Jamaica later this year.”

“Black senior citizens are half as likely as whites to get COVID-19 shots. But a Bronx exception shows success when sign-ups are made simple — showing the way for Cuomo and de Blasio as they belatedly announce outreach efforts.”

“ALBANY — A growing coalition of health care groups and providers are outraged over an impending change to Medicaid funding for prescription drugs in the Empire State.”

“WASHINGTON HEIGHTS, NY — In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, a nonprofit organization will provide free mammograms in Washington Heights.”

“…There’s also that dual consciousness that develops. That there’s me as the professional and then there’s me as a Black man, that’s going through the day-to-day. And sometimes those experiences don’t align with one another. It’s like, I have an oath for this and then I have an oath for that. And which one do I nurture during this time? But it should also be both.”