Morris Heights Health Center receives $150K to support COVID-19 response

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A community medical facility received a financial boost in its fight against COVID-19.

On April 21, the Morris Heights Health Center, 85 West Burnside Ave., was the recipient of $150,000 from the Siemens Foundation. For nearly four decades MHHC has provided primary healthcare services to the community, including medical, dental and counseling.

The health center is one of 12 organizations that received support from the nonprofit. Siemens Foundation is committing $1.5 million to support healthcare providers so they can continue serving the people in low-income neighborhoods.

“As the COVID-19 crisis disproportionately threatens lower-income and medically underserved communities, it’s important for us to support the institutions that sustain our social compact,” said David Etzwiler, CEO of the Siemens Foundation. “Community health centers and their staff are on the front lines providing primary care every day and they now play an especially critical role in our medical services infrastructure when emergency services and hospital settings are overwhelmed.”

COVID-19 has hit the borough hard. The Bronx is already known for its food deserts, high asthma rates and financial insecurity, and these factors, among the many underlying conditions that Bronxites have, caused coronavirus deaths to be double Manhattan, according to data.

Morris Heights Health Center responded to the crisis quickly and adapted. Dubbed the Temporary Emergent COVID Unit (TECU), MHHC is providing triage, treatment and testing at multiple locations consistent with New York State Department of Health guidelines. They have doubled the size of their call center, their virtual front desk and staffed it with providers and social workers to provide screening, triage and information including how best to access community and social services. They are also providing dental, mental and substance abuse services remotely and safely as well as emergency oral health services when appropriate.

Mari Millet, president and CEO of MHHC, praised Siemens for their assistance.

“We are delighted to have a partnership with the Siemens Foundation that will allow us to support our Bronx communities during the devastation caused by COVID-19,” Millet said. “Our essential staff is working hard to continue to fight this pandemic, and this support will allow us to continue to care for every patient that needs it.”

The Morris Heights Health Center was selected using criteria developed by the Siemens Foundation in consultation with the National Association of Community Health Centers, the Minnesota Association of Community Health Centers and Siemens. The center is free to use the funding as it deems necessary in response to the crisis.

Senator Gustavo Rivera, chair of the Senate Health Committee, thanked Siemens for its generosity.

“I want to express my gratitude to the Siemens Foundation for granting critical financial support to the Morris Heights Health Center in my district as they continue to be at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19 in the Bronx,” Rivera said. “As our borough continues to bear the brunt of this public health crisis, this partnership will allow MHHC to move forward in offering essential health services to some of the Bronx‘s most vulnerable residents and help save many lives.”

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