Despite dreary weather conditions that included a torrential downpour, the mood within the newest Open Door Family Medical Centers facility in Mamaroneck was bright on a recent Thursday.
The Ossining-based, nonprofit provider of health and wellness services held a ceremonial ribbon cutting on May 25 at the new medical center at 689 Mamaroneck Ave., the organization’s sixth center to open in Westchester and Putnam counties. The Open Door facility will operate in the building in tandem with a new Westchester Medical Center Health Network office providing specialty medical care.
“When you provide cost-effective, prevention-oriented primary care for those who may not have adequate access to the health care system, the entire community benefits,” said Lindsay Farrell, president and CEO of Open Door.
While Open Door focuses on treating low-income individuals who might not otherwise be able to afford care, the organization expects the facility to offer benefits to all Mamaroneck residents while lessening the burden on area emergency rooms and fostering a healthier community.
Housed in a renovated office building, the 5,000-square-foot center will offer services including primary care, pediatrics, family medicine and planning, prenatal and pregnancy care, HIV services, behavioral and mental health services, patient advocacy and insurance enrollment. Fees will be based on a sliding scale.
Farrell said the organization chose to open a facility in Mamaroneck to meet the needs of patients who live in the area.
“We have more than a thousand people who utilize our services in Port Chester and are now being able to utilize our services here,” Farrell said. “That signals a need in a community. It made sense to do this. It took a while, but that’s why we’re here.”
Founded in the basement of Ossining’s First Baptist Church in 1972, Open Door now facilitates 260,000 annual patient visits and serves more than 51,000 patients.
Opened to patients in mid-May, the Mamaroneck center joins Open Door facilities, in Ossining, Mount Kisco, Port Chester, Sleepy Hollow and Brewster. Open Door also operates a number of school-based facilities and mobile dental services.
Later this year, it plans to move into a new 12,500-square-foot health center in Sleepy Hollow that will replace an existing location on Beekman Avenue and provide expanded space for the family medicine physician residency program that Open Door operates with Phelps Memorial Hospital.
The Mamaroneck opening follows more than four years of planning and development, Farrell said. Prior to its opening, Open Door partnered with Mamaroneck’s Community Resource Center to co-sponsor an annual health fair, provide medical and dental screenings for the resource center’s constituents and sponsor after-school fitness programming. Open Door also served on the Mamaroneck Community Coalition.
The Mamaroneck center opened in cooperation with the Westchester Medical Center Health Network, or WMCHealth. The Valhalla-based organization will occupy the upper floors of the recently remodeled facility and offer certain medical specialty practices.
In Mamaroneck, “While our priority is people that don’t have other alternatives, we’re open to everybody,” said June Keenan, WMCHealth’s senior vice president of delivery system transformation and executive director of the Center for Regional Healthcare Innovation. “We’re good at what we do, and we have a beautiful facility. We want to be a resource for the community.”
The partnership between WMCHealth, which operates 10 hospitals in the Hudson Valley, and Open Door is part of New York state’s Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment program. Backed by up to $6.42 billion in federal Medicaid funds to New York, the statewide initiative aims to fundamentally restructure the health care delivery system by reinvesting in the Medicaid program with the primary goal of reducing avoidable hospital use by 25 percent over 5 years through timely patient-centered health care services.
At WMCHealth, “We are committed to ensuring that all of the patients who use this and other facilities have access at an appropriate and early stage as needed to specialty services,” Keenan said.
Access to specialty services is particularly difficult for individuals who are either underinsured or uninsured, she said.
“We are determined through our partnership with Open Door to make this issue go away, to facilitate the right care in the right place at the right time for everyone, so that ultimately, we can treat more people because we’ll be treating people in a more effective way, and it will cost us all as a society less.”
Farrell said this topic is even more important in light of the ongoing health care debate in Washington, one she continues to keep a close eye on.
“I was concerned about the bill that passed the House and I’m obviously concerned about what the Senate will do,” Farrell said, referring to House Republicans’ American Health Care Act. “I’m just hoping they don’t destroy all the progress that we’ve made.”