The East Toledo Community Health Center opened its doors to patients on Monday, with the goal of providing comprehensive primary care services to those who need them most.
It’s the 14th location for Health Partners of Western Ohio, which runs community health centers across the region, including in Lima, Defiance, Bryan, and Tiffin. Janis Sunderhaus, chief executive officer of Health Partners of Western Ohio, saw an opportunity on the east side.
“We became intrigued by East Toledo,” she said. “There were relatively few services here [and] very dense population of people with very bad health outcomes.”
The area near the new health center at 2020 Starr Ave. feels much like parts of Lima where she worked as a neighborhood nurse. Lima was the first Health Partners of Western Ohio location to open in 2003, she said.
Adding a Toledo site was more immediately prompted in part by the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department’s decision to cut many of its clinical services, citing financial losses in providing them. Starting in July, the department no longer offers family practice, pediatrics, prenatal, women’s health, and dental services.
Some former health department staff have moved over to the new East Toledo center, while other new employees will begin in the coming weeks, Ms. Sunderhaus said. The location currently offers adult and pediatric primary care as well as behavioral health services.
While the Starr Avenue building gets the operation up and running, Ms. Sunderhaus said they are ultimately looking for a larger site on the east side that will allow the expansion to include dental, pharmacy, and other services.
It’s this model of care that Ms. Sunderhaus said is critical to treating the whole person, from a toothache to high blood pressure, diabetes, or depression.
Joe Dake, who was president of the board that oversaw the health center while it was part of the health department, said he will join the board of Health Partners later this month to provide a Toledo perspective.
He praised Health Partners’ commitment to Toledo and approximately 6,000 patients who used the health department for primary care.
“We were very lucky that Health Partners was interested in this area and had this integrated care model,” he said. “This was the best of all worlds that we could have asked for.”
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call the new Toledo location at 567-218-1900.
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