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Jamaica health facility gets $500K to expand

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The Community Healthcare Network, one of the only Queens facilities that offers services to anyone in need, will be expanding its Jamaica operation as the result of $500,000 in capital funding allocations.

City Council Speaker Peter Vallone (D-Astoria) visited the center Tuesday and announced the new funding, which will allow the facility to expand from three exam rooms to six and to start a dental program. The funds will also facilitate major renovations to the center, allowing for better patient flow and access to a children’s playroom.

“The people of Queens deserve the best and if it wasn’t for the speaker and the capital funds, it wouldn’t be possible,” said Catherine Abate, president and chief executive officer of the network.

City Council Finance Committee Chairman Herbert Berman (D-Brooklyn), Borough President Claire Shulman, state Assemblywoman Vivian Cook (D-South Ozone Park) and state Sens. Ada Smith (D-Jamaica) and Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) have also secured funding for the center, which has served the southeast Queens community since 1978.

The center, at 97-04 Sutphin Blvd. in Jamaica, provides adult and adolescent medicine, HIV services, pediatric care, reproductive health care, prenatal care, postpartum care, mental health services, immunizations, asthma services, school checkups and social services.

“It is full-service,” Vallone said. “You don’t have to come here and get sent to five different places, which tends to discourage people.”

The center is a not-for-profit site which prides itself on caring for under-served communities, including the uninsured and people who live in low-income housing.

“Even illegal immigrants can come in and know they will receive care, and isn’t that what government is supposed to do?” Vallone said.

With the newly acquired funds, the center will be able to continue offering prenatal services to illegal immigrants, even after upcoming legislation makes it more difficult to do so, said Sarina Williams, director of the Queens center.

The renovations will allow the center to expand into unused areas and “reflect more the year 2001 and not 1978,” Williams said.

Reach reporter Betsy Scheinbart by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 138.

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