Innovative partnership opens new health center

Doctors Community Hospital’s COO Paul Grenaldo and La Clínica Del Pueblo’s ED Alicia Wilson speak to the audience about the new partnership and opening of the Hyattsville Health Center.

BY MARIA D. JAMES — Doctors Community Hospital has partnered with La Clínica del Pueblo to provide preventative and specialty care at a new location in Hyattsville. The clinic, located at 2970 Belcrest Center Drive, Suite 301, which is adjacent to the Prince George’s Plaza Metro station, hosted a sneak peek pre-open house event on August 1 to an eager crowd of well over 50 partners and community supporters.

La Clínica del Pueblo is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) serving the needs of uninsured and underinsured Latino immigrants and others in need in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. The Hyattsville location received funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, The Maryland Community Health Resources Commission, The Cafritz Foundation, The Meyer Foundation and The Split Rock Foundation.

Staffed by family practitioners, case managers, and community health workers, La Clínica del Pueblo will provide bilingual and culturally competent care to underserved residents using a holistic approach.  Its outpatient program will include services such as case management, health education, insurance assistance, mental health services, orthopedic services, primary care, radiology, and social services.

Executive Director Alicia Wilson said that while 95 percent of their patients are Latino they anticipate serving a more diverse clientele in Hyattsville. “We are a community health center — our approach to care is looking at population health,” said Wilson. She praised the construction team for their tireless efforts to ensure the clinic opened on time to meet the federal deadline to receive funding. Due to their efforts, the clinic opened less than six months after signing the lease for the space.

A formal ribbon cutting ceremony and open house will be held at the new clinic in the fall to further engage the community and support the successful growth of the clinic. For now, the clinic is seeing existing patients — many of whom were traveling into Washington, DC for care at their clinic there.

In a recent email, Chief Development Officer Rachel Ugarte said by 2017 the clinic plans to serve 1,485 additional patients, provide more than 240 teens with mental health services, and reduce the incidence of serious health problems like HIV infection, high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes within the Latino immigrant population.

According to a press release, Prince George’s County has the highest rate of uninsured residents in Maryland. In the Hispanic community, about 87 percent of adults lack medical insurance and an estimated 75 percent have limited English language proficiency. Stigmas regarding certain conditions and immigration concerns can be factors that keep people from getting much needed medical care. The new outpatient clinic is expected to help address many of these socioeconomic and cultural barriers.

“In the past, there has not been enough support to meet all the medical needs of limited English proficient immigrant patients,” said Wilson. “It was time for us to make the move into Prince George’s County.”