Niagara Gazette

Local News

April 8, 2010

HEALTH: St. Mary's opens new center in North End

NIAGARA FALLS — Patricia Villani remembers a day not long ago when she was reviewing designs for a proposed community health center in the city’s North End.

Today, Villani and her colleagues from Mount St. Mary’s Hospital will gather to dedicate their new neighborhood health center, a $1.3 million facility that represents a dream come true.

“To be standing here is just unbelievable,” said Villani, the health center’s director. “I’m sure, once we are open, the patients are going to be just as excited as we are.”

Located at the corner of Profit Lane and Ninth Street, the center promises patients more services and expanded accommodations. At 6,500-square-feet, the building is more than double the size of the hospital’s former clinic, which was located inside the neighboring Doris Jones Family Resource Building. New features include 12 exam rooms, an expanded waiting room and a larger patient intake area. Visitors will find many of the same health services that were available at the old center, including primary care and pediatrics.

The site is staffed by 11 local physicians and four nurse practitioners who volunteer part of their time to the clinic.

“It’s the same service that you would get in their private offices,” said Bernadette Franjoine, senior director of operations at Mount St. Mary’s.

Franjoine said women’s health, chronic disease management and counseling services will also be available at the new center. She said the hospital also plans to begin offering dental care, podiatry and other services in the future.

Services are not limited to North End residents. All visitors are provided assistance, regardless of their level of insurance coverage or ability to pay.

“Our mission is to serve the poor and leave no one behind,” Franjoine said.

Mount St. Mary’s first North End neighborhood clinic opened in 1992. It averaged about 16 patients per day. Increased demand prompted a move in 1997 into the Niagara Falls Housing Authority’s resource building where the clinic started offering full-time services to about 3,000 patients per year. Franjoine said the increased patient demand prompted hospital officials to consider a new facility.

The health center served roughly 10,000 patients last year. Hospital officials anticipate as many as 15,000 people will pay a visit during the next year.

Funds for the new facility were raised by the Mount St. Mary’s Foundation with assistance from the John R. Oishei Foundation ($300,000), the Grigg-Lewis Foundation ($150,000), Niagara Falls Community Development ($100,000) and Fidelis Care — New York ($50,000). In addition, $100,000 in funding was secured through a capital assistance grant by Assemblywoman Francine DelMonte and $250,000 was secured by state Sen. Antoine Thompson.

 The health center opens to patients on Monday. The regular office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.


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