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Jewish Healthcare Foundation

Squirrel Hill Health Center Receives Federal Dollars – Plans to Open by Mid-Year

February 21, 2006

The Squirrel Hill Health Center (SHHC), a federally funded and accredited community healthcare facility, has received a $643,500 award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is expected to open before the end of June.

The award stems from the government's approval last year of an application to establish a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in Squirrel Hill. FQHCs are intended to improve access to excellent primary healthcare for underserved populations, while also making services available to others, including the insured.

The Squirrel Hill Health Center will be located in space rented from the Charles M. Morris Nursing and Rehabilitation Center at the Jewish Association on Aging, 200 JHF Drive, Pittsburgh.

As an FQHC, the center will have access to prescription drugs at reduced prices; it will be able to tap national best practice outcomes data; and it will have access to other federal initiatives. In return, the center will provide, or partner to provide, comprehensive family-centered care, including: dentistry; immunizations; mental health and substance abuse services; and prenatal, perinatal, geriatric and chronic care.

The center will initially target patients from Squirrel Hill, Greenfield and South Oakland, although it is open to residents from other communities and will serve patients of all ages and income levels.

The center will be supported by a staff of doctors, nurses and behavioral health specialists devoted to collaboration around best practices in disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment; its staff training and operations will be driven by Perfecting Patient Care disciplines – the continuous quality improvement methods that the Pittsburgh Regional Healthcare Initiative (PRHI) developed for medical settings based on the Toyota Production System. The Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF), which proposed and staffed the community health center's federal application, founded PRHI and supported development of its quality engineering disciplines.

The center's services will also be tailored to respect cultural and religious preferences.

The center will begin announcing staff and hours of operation in May and will be ready to open around mid-June. Once the center reaches capacity, it will be open 50 hours per week, including two evenings, one early morning and four hours on Sunday.

JHF will continue in its role as planning agent for the Squirrel Hill Health Center until the facility is fully staffed. The center's search committee already has begun recruiting fulltime and part-time staff, including a chief executive officer, a chief financial officer, a medical director, physicians, a nurse practitioner, three medical assistants, a Russian translator, a dentist, a dental hygienist, a case manager and a mental health specialist.

JHF was formed in 1990 with proceeds from the sale of Montefiore Hospital, which at one time operated acclaimed community health care centers serving Greenfield, Squirrel Hill and Hazelwood. The Foundation has been a catalyst for improved healthcare and access for all.

The Squirrel Hill Health Center will operate as an independent 501 (c ) 3 organization. A 12-member board -- chaired by Jennifer Rudin, M.D., an infectious disease specialist and long-time Squirrel Hill resident -- has been selected largely from its target communities and populations.

For more information please contact Dolores (Dodie) Roskies, Consultant, at roskies@jhf.org.

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