Revitalized health center in Tremont attracts more patients

NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, David Marin (l) joins Drs. Michelen and Maguire; Bill Foley, Senior VP, NYC Health + Hospitals; Dr. Jane Bedell, assistant Ccmmissioner, DOHMH along with assemblymen Michael Blake and Victor Pichardo.
Photo courtesy of NYC Health + Hospitals

If you have visited the NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health center in Tremont recently, you may have noticed a few big changes.

That is because this health center was one of five health centers citywide to receive much needed renovation and revitalization.

“Every New Yorker deserves equal access to health care, and now, if you wake up in Tremont feeling under the weather, you don’t need to travel to get health care,” said interim president and CEO if NYC Health + Hospitals, Stanley Brezenoff. “Quality care is right in East Tremont.”

Funded by the mayor’s Caring Neighborhoods Initiative, the official ribbon cutting ceremony on the project took place on Tuesday, December 12, six months after $1.2 million in upgrades to the facility were started, according to a health system spokesperson, Bob de Luna.

“The upgrade in technology definitely is appreciated, but the cosmetic upgrades are more important for patients,” said Dr. John Maguire, who has been serving patients at this facility since 2002.

“For a lot of people’s experiences, particularly for the people we serve, who are mostly uninsured or on Medicaid, some might not always think they’re getting the best of care [because of the physical appearance of some places,]” explained Dr. Maguire.

“Coming into an office that looks like a “real doctor’s office” and has modern stuff is reassuring for patients.”

Located on 1826 Arthur Avenue, the community health center’s renovations included new layouts for 13 upgraded exam rooms, new medical equipment and furniture, and “an uplifting décor to create a welcoming environment,” according to a press release sent out by the health system.

“As a provider, the upgrades were significant in that the city and Health + Hospitals were making a commitment to this practice and to this facility,” said Dr. Maguire. “It’s like well they’re not going to be pouring tons of money into the place if it’s not going to be an ongoing commitment.”

With the gradual implementation of newer technology to help with patient care, staff has received training to use the newer gizmos and gadgets.

“Updating medical facilities is definitely part of the care people receive,” Dr. Maguire added. “We need to have the latest in facilities and technology.”

“While medical care can happen without those things present, it does make it more challenging.”

Some of the new technology and workstation upgrades coming is the implementation of tablets to create a different patient to provider connection, according to Dr. Maguire.

“It’s a universally frustrating situation when the patient says something and doctors have to turn their back to type on their computers,” Dr. Maguire explained. “It’s like what are they doing? Are they checking their email? Are they on Facebook?”

With the renovations, the health system expects to provide care for 7,360 patients annually at this facility, according to de Luna.

The total funding for the initiative, about $40 million, also included the creation of two brand new facilities in Brooklyn and Staten Island, according to the health system.

“While funding from the Caring Neighborhoods Initiative has been exhausted, our commitment to primary care is ongoing,” said de Luna.

Reach Reporter Sarah Valenzuela at (718) 260-4584. E-mail her at svalenzuela@cnglocal.com.

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