From those modest beginnings, the clinic grew into a community health center providing life-long primary care to the Fair Haven community. We have 7 sites in the community including: our main site on Grand Avenue, our five school-based health centers--Clinton Avenue, John S. Martinez, Fair Haven K-8, Riverside Academy, Wilbur Cross High School--and at Bella Vista Elderly Housing Complex.
Like most Community Health Centers, Fair Haven Community Health chronically struggles with finances. During the financial crisis of 2008-2009, significant debt was incurred which persists to this date. Upkeep of our building has had to be neglected. As a result, we are in dire need of a new roof. Funding to help retire previous debt and funding for capital improvements are at the top of our “wish list”. Funds are also required for capital expansion. Our current clinical site is at capacity with continued increase in demand for services.
What makes FHCHC unique is not just the number of patients and visits—although on any given day, over 350 people walk through our doors at any one of our 7 sites , including 5 school based health centers, Bella Vista and our main site on Grand Avenue. What makes us unique is the care that we provide and the dedication of our staff. Of the 4,000 babies our midwives have delivered over the past 40 years, we know that those first ‘babies’ are entering their 40s, and they have their own children, some of whom we have delivered and we are caring for their babies, their mothers are in their 60’s and their grandparents in their 80’s. The Fair Haven Community Health Center cares for the entire 4 generations of families—from giving shots, providing nutrition support through our WIC program and our home visiting programs of Nurturing Families and Minding the Baby, providing school physicals, seeing patients at our school based health centers, helping patients plan families and stay healthy.
We also are caring for over 1,000 patients with diabetes, caring for the patients who need our help when they are sick and especially those who suffer with the chronic problems of asthma, diabetes, hypertension, HIV and AIDS. We help new families not only with health care but also by providing outreach, interpretation and social services.
People often ask, what makes a federally qualified health center, a community health center—and there are many answers, including the fact that FHCHC provides the highest quality and comprehensive primary care to thousands of families, regardless of their ability to pay—in a setting that is accessible and affordable. One other essential requirement is the significance of a Board of Directors that helps to keep the moral compass of the health center and requires that over 51% of the Board must be patients of the FHCHC.
Despite our challenges, I believe that FHCHC took action on the belief that all patients deserve high quality health care that is culturally relevant. The clinic never turns anyone away. Our staff is always available to provide excellent care. The clinic started in a small space in the Fair Haven neighborhood that has grown to see over 350 patients a day at any of our 7 sites. FHCHC has served several generations of families and continues to maintain the family model of care as a central focus for providing primary care to the medically underserved and uninsured in the Fair Haven community.
When I was asked to become the Chair of the Board of Directors, I was thrilled to be part of a community of people who truly demonstrate compassionate and culturally appropriate health care. As Board of Directors, we work hard to create policies that align with the vision and the mission the clinic. As a mother of school-aged children, it gives me great hope for the future of our community that we’re continuing to build a health center that provides high quality of care, treating patients in culturally relevant ways to help eliminate health disparities in the City of New Haven.
A Medical Home is a health care setting that facilitates partnerships between individual patients, their personal clinicians, and when appropriate, the patient’s family. The licensed independent providers (Doctors, Nurse Practitioners, Certified Nurse Midwives, Physicians Assistants) that work at Fair Haven Community Health Center offer primary care services- patients have ongoing and consistent access to health services. Care is facilitated by patient registries, information technology, health information exchange, and other means to assure that patients get appropriate care when and where they need and want it in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner.
Patients without a Medical Home may rely on emergency rooms or receive sporadic and costly health services. As a Federally Qualified Health Center, FHCHC offers a wide variety of affordable quality health programs available thru a sliding fee scale based on income and family size. FHCHC also accepts Medicaid and most commercial insurance.
We are pioneers in bringing health care directly to teens. Fair Haven Community Health Center began with The Body Shop at Wilbur Cross High School in 1982, the first school-based health center in Connecticut. We operate five school-based health centers (SBHC) in New Haven--Clinton Avenue, Fair Haven K-8, John S.Martinez, Riverside Academy, Wilbur Cross High School.
Advanced Practice Registered Nurses provide complete medical services including physical exams and immunizations at the SBHCs. Pediatricians also see patients, and social work and substance abuse counseling services are available. The staff at each SBHC work together to conduct support groups for students areas such as self-esteem, nutrition and fitness, substance use, bereavement, and HIV/AIDS. Our office managers help students schedule appointments to ensure access to healthcare. The State of Connecticut Department of Health, through the New Haven Board of Education, provides financial support for SBHCs.
FHCHC will begin providing dental services to our SBHCs. The Smiles 2 Go Dental Program will offer preventative (cleanings, exams, x-rays) and basic restorative (filings, extractions, pain relief) services to the Fair Haven community with a focus on children's dental care.
Fair Haven Community Health Center offers numerous maternal and child health programs and services. Women’s health care, including prenatal care, is provided as part of comprehensive primary healthcare at FHCHC. An interdisciplinary team of certified nurse midwives, physicians, social workers, nutritionists, and outreach workers provide comprehensive prenatal care. The family-focused approach to prenatal care combines the prenatal visit with childbirth education, group discussion, stress reduction, meditation exercises, and a hospital tour. Expecting mothers and their partners have their monthly health education class and prenatal check-up all in a single visit.
The Nurturing Families Network program at FHCHC offers home visiting to first time parents and parenting groups to parents of children from birth to age five in the Fair Haven Community.
The focus of home visiting is on child development, improving health, teaching parenting skills, and strengthening the family. Parenting groups focus on improving parenting skills, teaching child development, and demonstrating activities to help children grow. Children’s groups providing educational activities are offered at the same time so parents do not need to arrange childcare.
FHCHC has exceptional chronic disease management programs for our patients. Fair Haven is an active participant in the federal government’s Chronic Disease Care Management Model and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), which focuses on reducing health disparities. This health care model provides care beyond the one-on-one interaction between the patient and the clinician, including support with health education, self-management, changes in the health care community, support for obtaining medications, and a computerized tracking system to support the team’s efforts. Program highlights include:
Diabetes Prevention Program: The families of Fair Haven patients who have metabolic abnormalities are invited to participate in the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP). DPP is a 16-week intensive lifestyle program that focuses eating right and exercising. Following 45 minutes of education, the families have individual meetings with a medical provider. The group then participates in an hour of supervised physical education.
Smoking Cessation: Our nurse educator helps patients identify the relationship between stress levels and their desire to smoke by encouraging patients to monitor how they feel when they smoke. The nurse educator sees patients after their appointments with clinicians or makes separate appointments specifically for smoking cessation. Patients are given the option of a variety of methods, including nicotine patches and gum to help quit smoking.
HIV/AIDS Care: With Ryan White Care Act funding, FHCHC provides a broad range of preventive and clinical services. HIV medical case managers ensure that our patients have adequate support to address the family and environmental stressors that may affecting patients’ care. Specific services include: counseling and testing, implemented universally in accordance with CDC recommendations, and comprehensive primary care and adherence services provided to more than 100 individuals living with HIV or AIDS.
Our social services staff works closely with our clinicians and patients and families to assist them with housing, personal and financial issues. Life experiences are inseparable from personal health. We offer: enabling services, such as obtaining basic needs such as food, clothing, housing; eligibility assistance with obtaining appropriate health insurance, especially Medicaid HUSKY, and Medicare; case management and care coordination for various special population groups including HIV patients, prenatal patients, uninsured patients referred from the emergency rooms to us for a medical home.
Our behavioral health staff provides behavioral health and therapeutic counseling and assessments on site. Specific services include the following: crisis intervention and one-on-one behavioral health counseling and substance abuse support, follow up and referrals for treatment.
Despite the increased availability of medical insurance provided through the Affordable Care Act, many patients continue to struggle with lack of access to quality medical care. For some this is because of large deductibles on insurance policies, for others it’s because insurance remains out of their reach. Unfortunately, fewer than 50% of CT specialists participate in Medicaid, creating significant barriers to care for a large percentage of CT residents.
At Fair Haven Community Health Center, we are creating collaborations and innovative programs that allow us to continue to address these issues of access. Providing such resources is costly and we are dependent on the generosity of our donors to support these efforts.
Suzanne Lagarde MD, FACP is a graduate of Cornell University Medical College. She completed her residency and GI fellowship at Yale New Haven Hospital and before joining Fair Haven Community Health Center, she spent her professional career in the private practice of gastroenterology in southern CT. Dr. Lagarde is a founding member of Project Access-New Haven (PA-NH) and currently serves as immediate past President of the Board of Directors.
Dr. Lagarde is also licensed in Mississippi and until recently, she made quarterly trips to Biloxi since 2007. When in Mississippi, she worked at Coastal Family Health Center, a clinic serving over 30,000 patients, most of whom are uninsured. In April 2010, Dr. Lagarde received the Biloxi Health Volunteer of the Year Award.
In CT, Dr. Lagarde works on several initiatives aimed at increasing access to screening colonoscopy for uninsured patients. In collaboration with Yale-New Haven Hospital, she has established a program of providing free colonoscopy to 120 patients yearly. She also serves on the Medical Advisory Board of the CT Colon Cancer Control Program, which provides approximately 500 uninsured CT residents per year with free screening.
Dr. Lagarde also serves as head of medical triage of CT Mission of Mercy, an annual 2-day event that provides free dental care to over 2000 patients. She is a Global Medical Advisor to AmeriCares and serves on the Ethics Committee of Yale-New Haven Hospital. She was the 2010 recipient of the CT Chapter of the American College of Physicians Volunteerism and Community Service Award and was named a Community Hero by the New Haven Chapter of the American Red Cross in 2011.
Fair Haven Community Health Center is governed by a Board of Directors that is over 50% composed of consumers. Over half of our Board members are patients at our center. The patient perspective guides every decision made at our organization.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
This profile, including the financial summaries prepared and submitted by the organization based on its own independent and/or internal audit processes and regulatory submissions, has been read by the Foundation. Financial information is inputted by Foundation staff directly from the organization’s IRS Form 990, audited financial statements or other financial documents approved by the nonprofit’s board. The Foundation has not audited the organization’s financial statements or tax filings, and makes no representations or warranties thereon. The Community Foundation is continuing to receive information submitted by the organization and may periodically update the organization’s profile to reflect the most current financial and other information available. The organization has completed the fields required by The Community Foundation and updated their profile in the last year. To see if the organization has received a competitive grant from The Community Foundation in the last five years, please go to the General Information Tab of the profile.
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