HomeNewsThe case for 2 new health centers in the Northeast

The case for 2 new health centers in the Northeast

A community meeting was held Tuesday night at Houseman Recreation Center.

By Constance Day and Marlyn Bradshaw

City Council said that the Northeast needs more health centers when it included funding for two new health centers in the Lower Northeast in this year’s budget. The Health Department found the sites after years of searching for the right locations. One will be at the Frankford Transportation Center and the other on the grounds of Friends Hospital on Roosevelt Blvd.

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So who uses city health centers? Many people, including seniors, uninsured workers and their families, immigrants, children and anyone who needs health care. We are two residents of the Lower Northeast who have used the city health centers for years for our health care, following issues that affect so many people.

My name is Constance Day. I worked for Pinkus Brothers, the clothing manufacturer, for 26 years until it went out of business in 2016. At that point I was offered COBRA coverage, as is required after a layoff. What do you think it cost? $800 per month after being laid off. No way could I afford that, but my brother-in-law was working security at a city health center and advised me to go to his health center, which I did. I have been going ever since and I feel that I have received better care there than I did with private insurance. Everyone is very attentive to me and they seem to take a deeper dive into my issues. I am now on Medicare, but still go to my city health center. It’s been a lifesaver.

My name is Marlyn Bradshaw. I have lived in Mayfair for over 40 years. Back in 1981 I was living the dream. I was going to college, was married, living in a nice home and had just given birth to a beautiful baby boy.  After about six or seven months, when our precocious little son started pulling himself up on the furniture and walking around, my husband decided he wasn’t ready to be a father yet and didn’t want to be married anymore. By the time our divorce was finalized I was no longer entitled to his work insurance.

I thank God every day for my mother and grandmother who helped me raise my son and Health Center 10 on Cottman Ave. It took me a month to get an appointment at HC 10, which is nothing compared to the 9-12 months it takes for an adult today to register for care at the health center.  Children take over 5 months to get registered today.

I have been privileged to be seen by doctors, nurses, phlebotomists, lab techs, mammographers, family planners, gynecologists, social workers, pharmacists and many other providers. Unfortunately now Northeast residents can’t easily access this low-cost healthcare due to overcrowding.

However, we both know that the new health centers will be large enough to accommodate over 46,000 new patients, a real asset to residents of the Northeast. There are nearly 50 city and federal health centers located throughout Philadelphia, but only one in the entire Northeast.

The sooner we build the new centers, the sooner people will be able to access the lifesaving health care they need. We see the frustration facing Northeast residents now while waiting to see their doctors at HC 10. The city funding is in place and the city health centers pay for themselves with revenue from patients’ insurance when operating. It is time to build these health centers, with no further delay. ••

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