With grants from Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital and the Community Memorial Foundation, La Grange’s Community Nurse Health Center has completed its renovated family-practice center on Calendar Avenue in La Grange, offering the center significantly expanded capacity and ability for patient care.
Community Nurse Medical, which became a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in August, is a 91-year-old La Grange organization providing health-care options for low-income residents of the western Chicago suburbs.
The expansion into previously unused space ups the number of available exam rooms from three to eight, provides expanded space for patient education and allows for the consolidation of adult and pediatric care on one side of Calendar.
“The nice thing about it is that we used to do medicine in two separate centers; [now] parents and children can have their health care together in a family practice model, which is really important,” said Community Nurse CEO Angela Curran.
Community Memorial Foundation CEO Greg DiDomenico agreed: “That in itself makes what is already a very caring and effective health-delivery system even more efficient.”
The Affordable Care Act (colloquially “Obamacare”) provides significant increases in funding to FQHCs like Community Nurse, but the Act’s expansion of health-care and Medicaid opportunities to the previously uninsured will likely also increase the demand on the Center’s care providers.
Curran said the new space would immensely help the Center in serving the increase in patients, as well as the already high demand. The center estimates to increase from 2,300 patients annually to 4,000 by mid-2014, and from 10,000 visits per year to 18,000-19,000.
Additionally, their new status as an FQHC lets them serve patients over the age of 64 (as they could not previously) and opens the doors for partnerships with other local organizations like BEDS and Constance Morris House.
The new space was in use as of Monday. The Center is still expanding, and next hopes to add a new dental chair to its space over the Carousel Shop.
“We’re grateful for the local treasure that we call the Community Nurse, and together with all of our friends and partners, we can continue to build healthy communities,” DiDomenico said.