New Kingston clinic will provide healthcare to patients regardless of ability to pay

The Monday, June 28 groundbreaking. From left to right: Dr. Marta Sanchez, Dr. Neil Calman, Kingston mayor Steve Noble, Ulster County deputy county executive Marc Rider, state senator Michelle Hinchey, state assemblyman Kevin Cahill, Dr. Walter Woodley, Peter Buffett of Novo Foundation, and Dr. Mark Josefski.

Ground was broken in Kingston last week on the Pine Street Family Health Center, a new facility being built by the Institute for Family Health which is expected to serve between 8,000-10,000 patients annually, regardless of their ability to pay.

Among the community leaders and elected officials on hand at 140 Pine Street for the Monday, June 28 ceremony was Kingston Mayor Steve Noble, who recalled once seeking help from the Institute when insurance wouldn’t cover an issue for his own son.

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“We know that a vibrant and healthy community requires a vibrant and healthy health care system,” Noble said. “The fact that the mayor’s son and an undocumented immigrant can have the same access to care, with no questions asked, is exactly what health care should be.”

The Institute for Family Health and the Mid-Hudson Family Health Institute merged in 2007, and in the region operates six facilities in the region, including the Kingston Family Health Center on Family Practice Drive, and the Ob/Gyn and Specialty Care Center of Kingston on Foxhall Avenue. It also runs 10 locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx.

The new Pine Street Family Health Center will offer primary medical care for adults and children of all ages, including preventive care, vaccinations, screenings, women’s and men’s health services, care for chronic illnesses, and integrated behavioral health care. The center will also host numerous community programming and wellness options in collaboration with other Kingston-based groups.

“To see this revitalized into something that is going to be so profoundly important and impactful in our community is really special,” said New York State Senator Michelle Hinchey. “We all know that access to good, quality, affordable care is one of the most important things in a community. We know that what you are all building here is going to solve some of these problems.”

The Pine Street Family Health Center was designed by Geddis Architects and will be built by MGI Construction. Funding for the project was provided by NoVo Foundation and the New York State Department of Health.

“Through the generosity of Peter Buffett and the NoVo Foundation, we’ve been able to redesign and completely rebuild the building,” said Dr. Neil Calman, co-founder, president and CEO of the Institute of Family Health. “It will represent how we integrate behavioral health into primary care…and will be connected to the community. We want to make care on this side of the [Hudson] river the very best it can be.”

Assemblyman Kevin Cahill touted the over four decades of work the Institute has done in the region.

“The leading organization training family practice physicians outside of a large metropolitan hospital setting, the Institute has graduated over 200 primary care doctors and treated hundreds of thousands of local patients,” Cahill said. “With this new facility, their outreach will expand, more people will have access to care and our community will be further enriched.  While buildings are surely important, more than anything else, we look to the doctors and caregivers dedicated to provide quality care.”

Ulster County deputy county executive Marc Rider said the COVID-19 pandemic had shown the importance of access to health care.

“One of the lessons we’ve learned through this pandemic is the correlation between access to quality health care and positive or negative health outcomes,” Rider said. “Federally-qualified health centers like the Institute have been instrumental in the fight against COVID. The Institute stepped up early on, whether it was continuing to provide tele-health services, offering COVID-19 tests, and as one of the first partners in the vaccination effort.”

No timeline was given for completion of the project. For more information on the Institute for Family Health, visit: institute.org.

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