Vital Health Center to Begin Expanding

One of the most vital health institutes in the borough broke ground for a major expansion that will be ready for business next year.

The Walton Family Health Center on 1894 Walton Avenue, which is one of 17 health centers in New York State operated by the Institute for Family Health, broke ground near the building on Wednesday, February 9 in what will be an expansion of over triple the size of the current building.

The expansion, which will mainly be funded by the New York State Department of Health, will add 11,000 square feet to the existing 5,175 square feet, as well as raise the number of medical exam rooms from six to 18 and dental operatories from three to seven.

Not only will the existing facilities be expanded, but new additions will also be developed for the health center, such as an eight-room mental health suite, a training and conference room and a roof-top garden.

Dr. Neil Calman, who is the president and CEO of the Institute for Family Health and also a family physician who works at the Walton Family Health Center, believes this is an addition that Walton has been needing for a long time now.

“When we opened the Walton Family Health Center in 1998, there was a tremendous need for better access to primary health care in this neighborhood,” Dr. Neil Calman said. “The new facility will focus on patients’ experience and will allow us to optimize the use of the Institute’s award winning electronic health record system.”

As a federally qualified community health center, Walton offers comprehensive primary care to patients of all ages, regardless of their ability to make payments, and with the center’s expanded size, they are expecting to provide health care for up to 10,000 more residents of the local communities.

Government officials joined hospital workers and community members to break ground for the health center’s expansion and the new addition to the building is slated to be ready during the second half of 2012.

New York State Commissioner of Health Dr. Nirav Shah is excited that the Walton Family Health Center will finally be able to receive the expansion that the center, staff and local residents have been waiting for a long time.

“The state is very excited and proud to support the project that was celebrated today,” Shah said. “More than ever, health care that is accessible, affordable and of high quality is critical to the well-being of New Yorkers. The care delivered by the Walton Center does and will continue to provide that kind of health care.”

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