Connecting Communities With Care
CompleteCare Health Network, founded in 1973 as the Community Health Improvement Program, has grown to become the second-largest Federally Qualified Health Center in New Jersey. Its mission is to provide high-quality, affordable and accessible health services for all of those who need it—no matter their age, income, insurance status, or ability to pay. In 2020, CompleteCare partnered with NJCC to expand its mission and its dedication to community development in New Jersey. Richie Elwell, Executive Vice President of Business Services, shares more about the pivotal role of the new center in community well-being.
What is CompleteCare Health Network?
We are a Federally-Qualified Health Center with 20 locations in Cape May, Gloucester and Cumberland Counties. We have nearly 350 employees that provide services like primary medical, dental, women’s health and mental health care, and specialty services like podiatry, dermatology, chiropractic care and more. In 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw over 61,000 patients for over 265,000 visits.
What is an FQHC?
Federally Qualified Health Centers are community-based health care providers that receive funds from the HRSA Health Center Program to provide primary care services in underserved areas. They must meet a stringent set of requirements, including providing care on a sliding fee scale based on ability to pay and operating under a governing board that includes patients.
How would you describe your patient population?
CompleteCare is open to anyone, but our target population is those who fall below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines. Largely, that consists of populations experiencing homelessness, migrant and seasonal agricultural workers, and residents of public housing. We see all types of patients: pregnant moms, babies, kids, schoolchildren at our school based sites, all the way up—I know we recently had a patient that turned 100, so all ages!
Why is your work important to the people you serve? And why is it important to the southern New Jersey region?
Cumberland County ranks 21st of the state’s 21 counties on those indicators that measure both health outcomes and health factors, so there’s a great need in our service area. We see ourselves as instrumental in improving those outcomes. Because we’re open to anyone, we can offer specialties that patients who are uninsured or underinsured often cannot access. That makes a world of difference.
Can you tell us more about your recent project in Bridgeton, New Jersey?
Thanks to a $10 million NMTC project with NJCC, we’re relocating dozens of employees to downtown Bridgeton to assist with economic development. Our new facility, which was built using local contractors, ensures sustainability for health care in our area by taking advantage of cost savings through increased consolidation and scale. We’ve renovated an existing three-story building, measuring approximately 4,000 square feet, and developed a new two-story building, about 26,000 square feet.
What will this new facility allow you to do?
The new facility provides a centralized location for CompleteCare administration, as well as a new space for our very busy Adult & Specialty office. The health center will have nine exam rooms, plus space for primary medical, podiatry, chiropractic care, adult medicine, internal medicine, and infectious disease specialties. We’ll also have a community pharmacy.
What made you approach NJCC for help with NMTC?
Our developer had a relationship with NJCC, so he recommended we talk to them. And we’re so glad we did. It only took a few meetings to realize the staff’s high levels of expertise, their dedication, and their attention to detail. They made the NMTC experience so much smoother, and in so many ways, we owe this entire project to NJCC. We’re proud to have NJCC as a partner.