Located one block west of Broadway and Congress Street at 24 Hamilton, the new 14,000 square foot, two-story facility is set to open January 1, 2013. The facility, known as the Community Health Resource Center, will focus on primary care, mental health, dentistry and house rotating specialists.
The center is primarily designed to, “offer a far more efficient, cost-effective option for patients who would otherwise turn to the hospital emergency department,” hospital officials said in a written statement. The center will help alleviate the hospital’s main emergency department, funneling patients without insurance seeking preventative care or treatment for non-life-threatening conditions to the facility.
By law, the hospital is required to treat any patient who walks into the emergency room seeking care, a law which can cost hospitals millions of dollars to cover. Without insurance, such patients may visit the emergency department for simple ailments or conditions usually treated by a primary care physician. But emergency departments are not typically equipped to provide preventative care, consultation or long-term care solutions, making visits costly and less effective. While the new facility won’t defer the cost of care for the hospital, it will help prevent the emergency department from overflowing with these non-life-threatening cases.
While the facility will be able to handle patients without health insurance, the new Community Health Resource Center will also provide primary care for those who do have insurance.
The hospital also hopes to use the center in partnership with other not-for-profit organizations, such as the EOC Food Pantry, to provide assistance for food, shelter, social services and educational outreach programing.
The building at 24 Hamilton Street was purchased by the hospital for $1.95 million from chiropractor Keith Cavallaro. To cover the cost of the project, the Saratoga Hospital Foundation is looking to raise $3 million dollars – approximately $2 million to cover building expenses, and the remaining $1 million to create a permanent endowment.
With multiple facilities now run by Saratoga Hospital, the organization will, “provide ongoing education about when and where to seek primary care – at the Community Health Resource Center, Urgent Care, the emergency department, Saratoga Family Practice, private practices and the new Emergent Care Center at Exit 12,” stated a hospital representative. “The hospital will drive home the value of having a primary care provider and will continue to enroll patients in the Child and Family Health Plus insurance programs. Combining these efforts should result in smarter use of resources and significant savings for patients, the hospital and the community as a whole.”