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August 17th, 2016

New State-Of-The-Art Mobile Health Vehicle Deployed



Ribbon cutting ceremony with Cornerstone Family Healthcare’s chief operating officer David Jolly, Orange County executive Steve Neuhaus, Edina Vukic, executive director of primary care and vice president of sales and community engagement Affinity Health Plan.
MIDDLETOWN - In recognition of Healthcare for the Homeless Day, elected officials and community supporters of Cornerstone Family Healthcare gathered at HONOR, Orange County’s transitional housing shelter in Middletown on Wednesday to celebrate the launch of the health center’s new mobile medical van. The van, made possible by a $200,000 grant from Affinity Health Plan, will enable the non-profit community health center to greatly expand health care services and provide primary care to a greater number of homeless individuals, and individuals in transition, who otherwise do not have access to basic healthcare. 

April Gozza, senior director of public relations and government affairs at Cornerstone opened the event by acknowledging the unique roll that community health centers play in reaching beyond the walls of conventional medicine to address the factors that may cause sickness, such as lack of nutrition, mental illness, homelessness and addiction. “Homelessness is a significant barrier to good health. Poor nutrition, inadequate hygiene, exposure to violence and weather-related illness and injury, increased risk of contracting communicable diseases, and the constant stress of housing instability all contribute to the health issues faced by individuals facing homelessness.”

In 2015, Health Centers across America treated 1.1 million homeless patients. One thousand were treated in Orange County by Cornerstone Family Healthcare.

The launch of the mobile health van came on Healthcare for the Homeless Day. Healthcare for the Homeless Day is recognized each year in August during National Health Center Week and celebrates the work and services that health centers and their community partners bring to this special population.

“Access to healthcare is our number one priority,” said David Jolly, chief operating officer for Cornerstone Family Healthcare who spoke about how community health centers are uniquely positioned to address certain public health challenges. “We have made key investments in innovative solutions to confront these challenges filling significant healthcare gaps.”

The new state-of-the-art mobile health vehicle is furnished with two ample-sized exam rooms and is equipped with a family nurse practitioner (FNP) and supporting care delivery team, supplying a wide range of healthcare treatment options ranging from acute and chronic illness care to physical examinations, immunizations, and laboratory testing. Assistance with health insurance enrollment is also available as well as linkage and referral to community supports.

“Removing barriers and meeting patients where they’re at is what sets us apart. If transportation is an issue, there is no reason to try and reinvent transportation; we can deliver the same quality healthcare remotely.” Jolly said.

Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus acknowledged in his remarks the complexity of public health and recognized County agencies for working together to strengthen the partnership between Cornerstone, HONOR and other community-based organizations to protect and improve the public’s health. “The core of every responsibility we have is healthcare,” said Neuhaus.

Executive Director of HONOR Chris Molinelli rejoiced as he called himself “the most privileged man at the podium” introducing Labriska Brown and her 8 year old son Nishone Brown, residents of the shelter. Brown shared her heartfelt journey from stable housing to the shelter as a result of domestic violence. Brown utilizes the mobile health unit for routine care for her and her son. “Everybody faces hardships,” said Brown.  “I’m not homeless, I am temporarily without a permanent address. Life happens. I’m not poor. Besides, the richest man is a healthy man.” Brown closed with a request to elected officials and policy makers, “I’m asking from the bottom of my heart to continue the work that you are doing, helping me; and there are others. Without my health, I have nothing.”

The mobile van is made possible by Affinity Health Plan. Affinity shares Cornerstone’s mission to provide access to affordable, high quality, cost effective primary care to members.  Edina Vukic, executive director of primary care and vice president of sales and community engagement for Affinity Health Plan says, “Affinity is committed to partnering with our community providers, and this mobile health van was made possible through a long standing relationship and our commitment Cornerstone.”

The new mobile van will be in service at the following Orange County locations:

* The Emergency Housing Shelter at Honor, 38 Seward Avenue, Middletown, Tuesday and Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Newburgh Ministries, 9 Johnston Street, Newburgh, Thursday, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

* Ecclesia House, 91 Ann Street, Newburgh, first Wednesday of the month, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

* Hudson House, 245 Broadway, Newburgh, second Wednesday of the month, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

* YAP, 44 Grand Street, Newburgh, second Wednesday of the month, 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.

* United Methodist Church, 245 Liberty Street, Newburgh, third Wednesday of the month, 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.

* Hudson Valley Inn, 5180 Route 9W, Newburgh, fourth Wednesday of the month, 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.

For more information on Cornerstone’s mobile health programs or Harper Health for individuals and families in housing transition, visit www.cornerstonefamilyhealthcare.org

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