Sen. Menendez Breaks Ground on New Camden Health Center

Sen. Menendez Breaks Ground on New Camden Health Center

Says Affordable Care Act is working

CAMDEN, NJ - U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today helped break ground on Project H.O.P.E.'s new, state-of-the-art federally-qualified health center (FQHC) in Camden, funded by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The facility is the latest success story of how health reform is already increasing access to vital services and improving lives. Menendez joined Camden Mayor Dana Redd, State Senator Donald Norcross, Assemblymen Whip Wilson and Angel Fuentes, and Camden County Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli, Jr. for the event.

"Investing in our community health centers is exactly the kind of investment - in job creation, in expanded access to healthcare and in the improved health of our communities - that we need to make and that will pay returns too great to measure," Sen. Menendez said. "The $4.7 million investment that's going to build this new facility was made possible because of the Affordable Care Act - more proof that the ACA is indeed working."

The new and improved Bergen Lanning Health Center is being constructed around the existing building and will provide enhanced services to the homeless and at-risk populations throughout Camden County, consistent with Project H.O.P.E.'s mission.

"When completed, Project H.O.P.E.'s new facility will help us better fulfill our mission of caring for some of the most vulnerable residents of Camden. But our new center will be more than just a building for medical treatment; we hope that it draws in our community and provides the support that they need to make a positive impact on their health and their lives," said Project H.O.P.E Camden CEO Patricia DeShields. "Senator Menendez has always been a friend to federally qualified health centers like Project H.O.P.E. Not only did he support the Affordable Care Act which provided the funding for this facility and improved access to critical health services for our patients, he stood up to ensure that FQHC's were treated fairly by insurance companies. We thank him for his work."

The 10,000 square-foot, two-story facility is expected to be completed in April, 2015 and will feature expanded space for primary, behavioral, and clinical healthcare, as well as community outreach services. Once open, the current facility will be demolished.

ACA is injecting a total of $11 billion in new funding over five years to help community health centers expand their operational capacity to serve nearly 20 million new patients nationwide. In New Jersey, health reform, combined with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, has provided more than $66.2 million in funding to transform Garden State health centers into some of the best in the nation.

"Community health centers, like Project H.O.P.E., are the backbone of our health care system, providing care to those who might otherwise not have access, and keeping our families and neighbors healthy," added Sen. Menendez.

Sen. Menendez authored an amendment included in ACA's final passage that requires private insurance plans on the exchange to fully reimburse FQHCs at no less than the same rate as Medicaid in order to ensure the economic vitality of community health centers and properly recognize them for the valuable role they play in the American health care system.