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Wheeler Family Health and Wellness Center, Genoa have new home on Hart Street, integrating services for all in need
NEW BRITAIN (July 6, 2021) – Integrating services for all in need, the Wheeler Family Health and Wellness Center found a new home on Hart Street and now provides behavioral health support for children, adolescents and young adults.
“We saw in the last 18 months how many people tried to access healthcare and recognized there is a significant need to increase accessibility and remove barriers,” said Sabrina Trocchi, president and CEO of Wheeler. “This was the best opportunity to expand and to be able to pay more attention to the need of New Britain residents.”
Medical officials, state and local representatives, and community members gathered at Wheeler’s new location on 40 Hart St. Tuesday afternoon for a ribbon cutting ceremony to commemorate the milestone. The ceremony also celebrated the opening of Genoa Healthcare’s new integrated behavioral health on-site full-service pharmacy, allowing a one-stop shop for patients.
This is the fourth on-site pharmacy Genoa has collaborated with Wheeler, with other locations in Hartford, Plainville and Waterbury. By creating a consistent relationship between patients, medical prescribers and case managers, Genoa Director of Operations Iman Badawy said it drives up medical adherence and increases community trust.
Studies have shown that with a good relationship and good communication, patients have a higher chance of taking their medication consistently, which lowers the rate of both behavioral health hospitalizations and emergency room visits, she said.
“I believe by having a pharmacy on site, those personal relationships make a huge difference,” Badawy said.
Rep. Jahana Hayes said the pandemic has highlighted the health equity gap and many people rely on community health centers for their medical needs, including her own family. She shared that growing up her grandmother was able to get the care she needed directly from a pharmacist.
“The pharmacist was her doctor and he knew us by name,” Hayes said. “Those personal relationships will help close those gaps and I’m so excited to be here because I know for many people, this is their only option for healthcare.”
For Mayor Erin Stewart, this was 18 months in the making, and she is glad to see access to more options for primary care.
“This is a great opportunity to help residents lead healthier and better lives,” she said.
The 25,000 square foot building provides services from primary care to chiropractic treatment, from nutrition to treatment for substance use. Prior to the expansion, services were only for adults. Now children, adolescence and young adults will also be able to get the care they need.
It was a need that was identified through residents and Trocchi said many families were traveling to other Wheeler clinics for youth behavioral health services.
But with transportation being a major barrier for families, it was important to Wheeler to be able to provide those services locally, she said.
Based on data provided by US Health Resources and Services Administration, which oversees community health centers, it is estimated there are over 24,700 low-income New Britain residents who do not receive care.
Wheeler has also seen spikes in school referrals for students who have anxiety or depression, adults across the state with an increase in substance use disorders, and the opioid epidemic didn’t disappear because of the pandemic.
“There is a complex array of factors but with the disruptions we’ve seen in our communities, we hope we can continue to serve and raise awareness within the communities that services are available to them,” Trocchi said.