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Syracuse Community Health Center Introduces New Resident Program, Ambulance Agreement

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A new program for medical residents at Syracuse Community Health Center may lead to better health for the organization’s patients and clients. President Mark Hall said the biggest advantages for patients will be access to a variety of health services and better education about each person’s health. He notes the center offers primary care, but also dental, radiology, pediatrics, mental healthcare, and substance abuse services, just not always as timely as he’d like.

“So it’s easy for a patient to come here and receive a wide array of medical care so with this residency program and our partnership with SUNY Upstate it will allow us to again to provide additional access and services to our patients,” said Hall.

The center has received a federal grant to develop an Urban Family Medicine Program along with SUNY Upstate Medical University. They’ll eventually have four residents working in the health center to improve care and access.

Hall notes many barriers to good healthcare exist, especially in marginalized communities. They include transportation, lack of child care, violence, and even lack of technology or data when using telemedicine for healthcare.

The center also has an agreement with AMR Ambulance to help alleviate pressure on the area’s emergency rooms. Hall explains many who don’t seek regular care end up going to ERs, even for minor health issues. That can get in the way of those who truly need emergency medical care.

“Resources personnel technology etcetera are all diminished by these not emergent type of cares. What we were able to do is come to an agreement with AMR Ambulance,” said Hall. “They will ask the patient if they want to be diverted to our urgent care or if they want to continue on to one of the area hospitals.”

He emphasizes it’s always the patient’s choice, but he says 40 to 50 diversions a week could help keep emergency rooms open.

The health center sees 30,000 patient visits, and Hall says they’ve ramped up COVID vaccinations and testing, including rapid testing units that will go into service this week.