PROVIDENCE, RI – In an effort to expand access to quality health care services for the Providence community, U.S. Senator Jack Reed today joined Merrill Thomas, CEO of Providence Community Health Centers (PCHC) and others, to celebrate the grand opening of the state’s first “green and smart” community health center located on Prairie Avenue in South Providence.  The new Allen Berry Clinic will eventually support an estimated 350 jobs and offer primary care and specialty services, including behavioral health services to 15,000 low-income and uninsured patients in the South Providence community.

“Community Health Centers provide invaluable health services to communities and people who otherwise may not have access to quality care.  I am pleased to have worked to ensure funding for this important project that will not only protect the health and well-being of residents, but also support jobs in the Providence community,” said Reed, who helped secure over $3.7 million in federal funds for the new Allen Berry Clinic.

As a member of the Appropriations Committee Reed worked to secure over $743,000 for PCHC to move its Allen Berry clinic to this new location in South Providence and in 2011 Reed supported PCHC efforts to win a $2.99 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration.  In addition to this federal funding, PCHC received $600,000 in Brownfields awards to remove and dispose of contaminated soil, conduct groundwater monitoring, and support community involvement activities.  In 2002, Senator Reed helped pass legislation that made this federal funding possible.

The Affordable Care Act, which the Supreme Court recently upheld, contained $11 billion to strengthen and expand community health centers across the country as well as create new community health center cites in medically underserved areas.  

PCHC is the largest provider of primary care in Providence with nearly 40,000 patients at five locations throughout the city, as well as operating a school based clinic at the MET school, a clinic for the homeless at Crossroads, and a clinic at Chad Brown Housing project. 

Since 2007 PCHC has seen a rise in total patient visits from 124,000 to over 155,000–an increase of 30,000 in just four years.  75 percent of all new adult patients lack any form of insurance.  This new facility will care for up to 10,000 additional patients and support an estimated 350 jobs, including 245 new job opportunities for local residents.

This state-of-the-art health center, which has been under construction since 2006, is located at the former site of the Federated Lithographers building and covers an entire city block that has long been inactive.  It is equipped with 45 exam rooms, a Walgreens pharmacy, and dedicated retail and office space.  The total cost of the clinic was $42 million.