PHILADELPHIA, PA — Philadelphia’s Health Department recently announced that the lower Northeast will see two new City-run Health Centers. The first Health Center will be located at the Frankford Transportation Center, an easily accessible hub for the entire Frankford community. The location of a second Health Center serving the lower Northeast will be announced at a future date. The Health Center at Frankford Transportation Center is being planned as a full-service center, with primary care services for adults and children, women’s health services, lab, pharmacy, and much more. The Northeast has been identified in Health Department research as a primary care desert. The siting of two new Health Centers will go a long way towards reducing the dearth of primary care options in the community, and towards reducing the current lengthy waiting time for appointments at nearby Health Center 10.
“I, and the rest of the Kenney Administration, could not be more excited…,” said Managing Director Tumar Alexander. “These projects are part of the city’s commitment to its residents. We know that for far too long, residents of this part of the city have struggled to get access to primary care. [We} are taking the first step to change that reality.
The health center we build here at the Frankford Transportation Center will be a full-service center, with primary care services for adults and children, women’s health services, lab, pharmacy, and much more. It will provide high quality, compassionate, culturally sensitive care in the language of each patient.”
Opening two new Health Centers is part of the Health Department’s continued efforts to increase access to primary care in Philadelphia. A 2018 report by the Health Department highlighted gaps in primary care access in different neighborhoods in Philadelphia and found that the Northeast has the lowest rate of community health center access in the city. While waiting times at City Health Centers demonstrate this lack of access, the delays are greatest in the Northeast at Health Center 10.
Recent data from the U.S. Census shows that the demographics of the Northeast, especially Lower Northeast, have been changing in the last decade. These areas have seen the biggest rises in poverty, the largest growth in the share of Black, Hispanic, and Asian residents, and the highest increase in the share of foreign-born residents in the city.
“Primary care access is critically important to helping to keep all Philadelphians healthy,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole. “And for too long, many residents of the lower Northeast have been unable to access care in a timely way. As the former clinical director of Health Center #10 at Cottman and Bustleton, I have seen just how desperate the need for access is in that part of the city.”
“We cannot continue to allow the kind of waste of human potential that happens when people are shut out of access to healthcare, as happens too often in our city despite its world-class medical facilities,” the Health Commissioner continued. “Particularly for immigrants, our healthcare system can be an impenetrable wall rather than a source of help. I am profoundly grateful that this administration recognizes the importance of this access and that as part of our identity as a sanctuary city, we will be ensuring that the residents of such a diverse, international part of our city have access to high-quality, affordable care.”
The City recently launched a primary care finder website to help residents find the nearest primary care provider.
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