Our New Health Center!
(Check out our slideshow at the bottom of this page!)
September 20, 2010 marked a milestone day for HealthAlliance Fitchburg Family Practice with the formal groundbreaking for our new health center!
Congressman John W. Olver, a long-time supporter of the community health center, state and city officials, partner organizations and staff of the community health center represented the nearly 230 guests that participated in the day’s festivities. The turnout was a testament to the need in the community and represents a welcoming shift in the delivery of health care services in Fitchburg.
Having outgrown the current location in the Bullock Building at 275 Nichols Rd. long ago, construction of a new state-of-the-art community health center has begun. The construction and expansion project is largely made possible through the award of a $10.7 Million ARRA grant.
Breaking ground: Nicholas Apostoleris, PhD;
CHC President Mick Huppert; James Ledwith, MD;
and Beth Mazyck, MD
Additionally, the Professional Building, slated for significant renovation was donated to the community health center by HealthAlliance Hospital. The 17,000 square foot Professional building will be attached to the 45,000 square foot new facility.
The community health center also purchased nearly 7 acres of the surrounding land. Enterprise Bank provided a construction loan to assist the Center to begin the project to ensure compliance with the federal grant which states that the project must be completed by mid-2012. The project is estimated to cost $17.4 -$19 million, with loans and community fund raising covering the cost of items not included in the grant.
The new building will house the residency offices and education center, a state-of-the-art family medicine center designed to facilitate team-based care with collaboration of physiacians with nurse practitioners, physician assistants, behavioral health workers, and the nursing support staff. Four clinic teams will work in distinct pods occupying desk space in an open design to facilitate collaborative communication.
The thoughtful design will allow physicians and staff to provide essential services efficiently and comfortably. The old medical record rooms will disappear, replaced by staff workstations at which documents will be scanned and incoming data will be uploaded to a sophisticated electronic medical record.
The residency practice, the former family medical practice of Dr. Bob Babineau Sr., was transformed into a community health center in 2002, with the full support of Dr. Babineau. Over the next eight years, the Center experienced unprecedented growth, growing from a patient base of about 7,000 to nearly 30,000.
The Fitchburg CHC site continues to host the residency and offers medical, dental and behavioral health care, and home low-cost pharmacy services under one roof. Today, CHC operates four community health centers throughout North Central Massachusetts to anyone in need of a health home.
The UMass Fitchburg Family Medicine Residency will train 6 family medicine residents in each class for a total of 18 residents. The residency, under the direction of Dr. James Ledwith and the teaching faculty, are the backbone of the medical practice. Upon graduation, many choose to stay and work in the region. “Three of the last four graduating residents have stayed in the area working in practices afiliated with HealthAlliance Hospital," stated CHC President and CEO, Michael E. Huppert. "We grow our own, so to speak.”
This is an important task as the number of the state’s primary care physicians continues to decline. Nearly 140 residents have graduated from the UMass Fitchburg Family Residency program and slightly more than half now work in Massachusetts, with about one fifth in the North Central region.