Congressman Brian Higgins announced more than $1.3 million in funding awarded to federally qualified health care clinics to expand COVID-19 testing capacity in Western New York. The supplemental funding was included in the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, approved by the House of Representatives on April 23, which provided $25 billion to expand testing nationwide.
Higgins said, “Western New York health clinics play a critical role in supporting healthy communities and they are continuing to do so through this pandemic. Growing access to testing is important as we look to reopen our economy and reduce community spread.”
Below is a summary of federal funding directed to healthcare clinics in Western New York:
•Community Health Center of Buffalo: The Community Health Center of Buffalo Inc. (CHCB) is offering COVID-19 testing every Tuesday and Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. starting May 12-13 through its medical mobile unit stationed in the Buffalo site parking lot at 34 Benwood Ave., Buffalo.
Testing is also available on the mobile unit on Saturday, May 9, and Saturday, May 16, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Community Health Center of Niagara at 2715 Highland Ave., Niagara Falls.
In addition, CHCB is partnering with others to bring testing to Greater Faith Bible Tabernacle at 391 Edison Road in Buffalo’s hard-hit 14215 neighborhood. Drive up testing will be available on Monday, May 11, and Friday, May 15, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Residents must have a prescription from their primary care provider to be tested. If you do not have a primary care provider or are uninsured, call for further assistance. To schedule a COVID-19 diagnostic test with CHCB at any of the above locations, call 716-986-9199, ext. 5907.
Community Health Center of Buffalo CEO Dr. LaVonne Ansari said, “We are playing an important role in containing the spread of the COVID-19 Virus, especially in communities of color, where families are being hit the hardest. These funds will be used to expand capacity for testing and to monitor and suppress COVID-19. Increased access to laboratory services, contact tracing, purchase of PPE supplies, telehealth equipment and transportation assistance for patients or health center personnel will now be possible with this funding. We remain committed to building healthy communities, one patient at a time.”
•Neighborhood Health Center: Neighborhood Health Center is offering drive up testing through its Mattina site at 300 Niagara St., Buffalo, and its Blasdell location at 4233 Lake Ave. Drive-up testing is by appointment only. A telehealth evaluation by a Neighborhood Health Center provider is required prior to scheduling an appointment. Contact the Blasdell office at: 716-332-3070 or the Mattina office at 716-242-8600.
"As primary care providers in our communities we are a vital part of preventing unnecessary hospitalizations and remain committed to our public health role in focusing on safeguarding health and safety and limiting the spread of this virus in our communities," said Joanne Haefner, CEO of Neighborhood Health Center. "This added funding allows us to safely and efficiently provide drive up COVID-19 testing at our offices where we are dedicated to serving those in most need.”
•Jericho Road Community Health Center: Jericho Road has been evaluating and testing respiratory patients in isolation units at its Broadway and Barton locations during normal operating hours since the beginning of March. The health center is accepting new patients and can help uninsured patients access coverage. Call 716-881-6191 to get connected.
Jericho Road is also conducting barrier-free, walk-up COVID-19 diagnostic and antibody testing for the general community at various partner sites throughout Western New York. These events do not require a prescription, an appointment, a primary care provider, or insurance. All community testing events are first-come, first-served and are mainly conducted outdoors. Test type administered is based on provider discretion. Check jrchc.org/medical/covid19 for the most up-to-date information.
Dr. Myron Glick, founder and CEO of Jericho Road Community Health Center, added, "Access to COVID-19 testing is part of community health centers' larger commitment to making health care accessible to all people, especially the most vulnerable. At Jericho Road, we decided that removing all barriers to testing is incredibly important in the fight for health care equity during this pandemic. We know that people of color, people living in poverty, and frontline workers are being disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and we need to make sure that testing is readily available to them in their own neighborhoods. To date, we have held two community testing events at our 1021 Broadway location and have more planned for various sites around Buffalo. We are incredibly grateful to Congressman Higgins for securing this funding for Jericho Road and other local community health centers."