JACKSON HEIGHTS — A new urgent care facility geared towards helping underserved residents opened this week, the first of its kind in the city.
HEAL, which stands for Health, Education, Access and Love, opened Monday in the ground floor of The Roosevelt apartment building on 73rd Street and Roosevelt Avenue.
The facility is a branch of CityMD, which has 30 locations across New York and New Jersey. But the new facility is the only one of the CityMD-run facilities that will accept Medicaid, a need the company recognized, according to Tanyelle Broschart, the company's spokeswoman.
She said they focused on making Medicaid a central option for patients at their first outpost in Jackson Heights, with plans to expand in the future.
"The vision of this space was we would provide care to people who were not getting the care they needed," said Dr. Janine Kramer, one of two doctors who work on-site.
HEAL offers radiology services, blood work, physicals, X-rays and wound care and also makes referrals to specialists nearby, Kramer said.
The more than 6,500-square-foot space is equipped with a large, light-filled waiting room, 15 examination rooms and an empty conference room that they plan to open up to members of the community for meetings and other events.
Staff members speak Spanish, Korean and Bengali and there are also social workers and "health coaches" to assist with non-physical issues including weight management and ways to quit smoking.
Since opening Monday, they're already seen around 20 patients a day, many of whom have been dealing with longtime medical conditions that have gone untreated, doctors said.
"We're seeing patients with so many chronic, unattended issues," said Dr. Marcelo Venegas-Pizarro, the center's medical director. "It's really telling."
The facility isn't meant to replace primary care doctors or Elmhurst Hospital down the street — but instead is seen as a way to fill the gap, the doctors said.
"This is really the way care should be provided," Kramer, who worked at other CityMD locations around the city, said. "People shouldn't be afraid or intimidated by healthcare."
HEAL is 40-07 73rd St. off Roosevelt Avenue. Open seven days a week, 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. on weekends.