Chautauqua Center to Open Soon
The newest building rising on Jamestown’s skyline is the new Chautauqua Center, slated to reach four stories above the old Artone site at 107 Institute Street. Chautauqua Center’s new home will be an innovative and busy addition to Jamestown’s growing Medical Hub region.
Chautauqua Center is an independent, non-profit, federally qualified health center (FQHC). It is already well-established in Jamestown and Dunkirk. The Center cared for more than 9,000 Chautauqua County patients last year alone, many for multiple visits. The Jamestown branch has now outgrown its 4th Street home in the old South County office building.
“Our federal grant is meant to empower us to do innovative healthcare,” Michael Pease, Chautauqua Center CEO, told the Jamestown Gazette last week. “That is exactly why Chautauqua Center is being built here in Jamestown. We are doing this to be a community asset.” Pease, a JCC Nursing Program graduate, knows the business. He is a healthcare veteran, a Registered Nurse with hands-on experience in emergency and primary care medicine.
The Board of Directors at Chautauqua Center will be entirely composed of local community members, according to Pease. More than one half of the board members must be clients to be sure the board always knows exactly how it is fulfilling its mandate.
Chautauqua Center was funded in 2012, with its first facility opened in Dunkirk in 2013 and its second in Jamestown in 2015. The 4th Street office contains only 3,000 sq. ft. outfitted for clinical care. The new building on Institute Street will contain 26,000 sq. ft. for clinical care.
The new facility will include 42 medical rooms, 12 dental rooms, nine behavioral health rooms, and a pharmacy. The primary care team currently in Jamestown includes seven providers, two dentists, a dental hygienist, five social workers, one psychiatrist and one psychiatric nurse practitioner. Currently Chautauqua Center employs of approximately 50 workers in Jamestown. The workforce is slated to continue growing significantly.
The New Building
The original plan was to renovate the old Artone site, but the building’s structure was discovered to be too old and weak for economical restoration. Demolition and rebuilding became the better option. Originally envisioned to cost $5 million, the final project is slated to come in at about $14 million. The new building will provide 77,000 sq. ft. of space.
Funding includes approximately $3.5 million from the state of New York, a $1 million federal grant, approximately $4 million of Chautauqua Center’s funds, with another $4 million in new market tax credits pending. The new market tax credits will not impact local taxes. The final components of fund development are still underway.
The new building will be a three-level facility rising to a four-story height above a ground-level, off-street parking area. The first level above parking will be devoted entirely to clinical care. This will include primary care, dental care, behavioral health, women’s health, pediatrics, substance abuse, and other care modalities. The first level will also contain a pharmacy providing significant savings for users of the facility.
The second floor above the parking area will provide more than 25,000 sq. ft. of space available for lease by a variety of community groups and services who may find the location convenient.
The third floor above the parking area will be dedicated to administration, along with a leasable class/conference room, a large meeting room able to accommodate up to 110 people, a fully equipped kitchen for use by groups holding events in one of the rooms, technology rooms for computer mediated training, and more.
These spaces will be available to community groups at a low cost. “If we build it and nobody uses it, what’s the point?” Pease said.
Completion of the new Chautauqua Center will occur in phases throughout 2019. The first 10,000 sq. ft. of clinical space is due to open in April. The entire building is scheduled for completion by the end of August.
Innovations in Care
“We use new and innovative ways to improve patient care,” Pease said. “We treat every member who comes in the door as if they are a member of our own extended family. They are probably not feeling good already, so who wants to be treated like a number or a dollar sign?”
“When patients enroll in our program, they will come in and meet their entire care team to talk about their medical needs. The team will include a physician, a dentist, a dental hygienist, a social worker, mental health professionals, and office staff,” Pease explained. In this way the providers see the whole person with everything in a single context. “You can’t treat a person unless you know everything that is going on,”Pease added.
“Our focus is also on keeping people home and not in hospitals,” Pease explained. “Where needed, we will employ ‘reverse tele-health’ for patients with limited mobility, or inability to come to the center. A care coordinator will take their laptop to the patient’s home and contact the physician from there. The doctor can then treat the patient from the office while the patient is at home. In a sense,” Pease said, “you can say we are going back to making house calls.”
“We will see anybody who calls to make an appointment,” Pease promised. “We will take all patients, not just people of lesser means. We have a rapidly growing population of fully insured and fully employed clients. Convenience and innovative care are for everyone.”
A new trend in healthcare is also to bring back true, face-to-face communication. Instead of typing on a computer between the patient and physician, or scribbling on a note-pad, exam rooms will provide scribes to free the physician for total, hands-on, personal attention without the need for note-taking, keyboarding, or other distractions while communicating with the patient.
“We are changing from a reactive model to a proactive model in healthcare,” Pease said. “We believe that keeping patients healthy is better than waiting until they get sick. We will provide a care coordination team who can meet at the patient’s home, if necessary, to study their entire situation, their ‘Social Determinants of Health,’ to provide true holistic care. Care coordination provides constant contact between the care team in the patient, sometimes as often as weekly,” Pease added.
Cooperation – Not Competition
Chautauqua Center will not in any way compete with other established components of Jamestown’s health care systems. Chautauqua Center, Jamestown Area Medical Association, WCA Hospital, and Urgent Care already have a proven track-record of making and accepting referrals and cooperation in whatever way is best for the individual patient. “We are not Urgent Care, but we are Same Day Care,” Pease said.
Chautauqua Center will also be engaged in joint recruitment efforts for physicians and nurses along with WCA/UPMC.
“Our research showed that Chautauqua County has the highest need of any county in New York State presently without an FQHC,” Pease explained. “Chautauqua County is actually one of the top five in need of this type of care in the entire United States. Our belief was that we could provide a real and necessary community service to Chautauqua County in Jamestown.”
Health Care Hub
The recent addition of an enlarged Emergency Department at WCA, affiliation with UPMC, the hospital’s enhanced clinical care facilities, and ongoing construction, along with the proximity of the JAMA and Urgent Care facilities, is making Jamestown a recognized Medical Hub for all of Western New York.
The addition of Chautauqua Center within this area adjacent to Downtown Jamestown further expands the scope and opportunities for health care in the region.
Visit thechautauquacenter.org on line or Chautauqua Center’s Facebook page to keep up to date on developments and to learn more about taking part in the innovative care opportunities available at Chautauqua Center. To make an appointment for care at the current Jamestown office at 110 East 4th Street, phone 716-484-4334.