Wheeler Receives Emergency Grant from Direct Relief to Bolster the Health Care Safety Net in Connecticut
Wheeler Clinic received $50,000 in emergency grant funding from the medical aid organization Direct Relief, in partnership with the National Association of Community Health Centers. Funds support the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) for use at its four community health centers in Bristol, New Britain, Hartford, and Waterbury.
Wheeler was among 518 federally qualified health centers to receive funding through Direct Relief’s $25 million COVID-19 Fund for Community Health, which recognizes the profound effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the finances, services, staff, and patients of community health centers.
The grant facilitated Wheeler’s purchase of 50,000 disposable face masks for health center staff who have direct contact with patients and all patients who come into the health centers during their visit, as well as gowns, shoes, and headcovers for health center personnel; hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes.
“Access to primary care is what keeps people healthy and out of the hospital, and the frontline work of Wheeler and other nonprofit community health centers across the U.S. is more critical than ever with the onset of COVID-19,” said Direct Relief President and CEO Thomas Tighe. “Direct Relief is doing everything possible to bolster the work and support the staff at the safety-net health facilities on which so many patients and their families rely for the excellent care and trust for advice in this public health emergency.”
Nearly 30 million (1 in 12) of the country’s most vulnerable residents — including 1 in 3 individuals living in poverty, 1 in 5 Medicaid beneficiaries, and 1 in 9 children — rely on federally qualified health centers like Wheeler for their health care. That number is expected to rise as more people lose employer-sponsored insurance.
“We are grateful for this critical and immediate support as Community Health Centers work hard to keep communities safe during an unprecedented pandemic,” said Tom Van Coverden, President & CEO of the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC). “We are also deeply appreciative of our longstanding partnership with Direct Relief in these uncertain times and their efforts to ensure that health centers confronting multiple challenges in underserved communities have the resources when and where they need them. We know that many donors and contributors have helped to make this fund possible, and we further extend our appreciation to all of them.”
“Wheeler made a swift, successful transition to delivering services through telehealth during this pandemic, however, many patients still need to come into our community health centers for care, and this number will increase as Connecticut continues to reopen,” said Sabrina Trocchi, Ph.D., MPA, president and chief executive officer, Wheeler. “This grant is helping our frontline staff—critical players in the fight for equality, justice, and health equity—to provide high-quality care in a safe environment.
“We are extremely grateful to Direct Relief and the National Association of Community Health Centers for their commitment to supporting community health centers, especially at this time,” Trocchi added.
Wheeler delivers an array of primary care, behavioral health services, and linkages to specialty care to individuals and families of all ages through its four federally qualified community health centers located at:
• 10 and 225 North Main Street, Bristol
• 75 North Mountain Road, New Britain
• 43 Woodland Street, Hartford
• 855 Lakewood Road, Waterbury
As a federally qualified health center, Wheeler is part of a network of community health centers nationwide that provide affordable, accessible health care for more than 29 million Americans.
Wheeler Family Health & Wellness Centers
Wheeler’s Family Health & Wellness Centers in Hartford, Bristol, New Britain, and Waterbury are community health centers that provide medical and dental care for the whole family, as well as behavioral health care, and referral and linkages to specialty services.
Wheeler’s Family Health & Wellness Centers in Hartford, Bristol, and New Britain are funded in part by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an operating division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Wheeler is a Health Center Program grantee under 42 U.S.C. 254b and a deemed Public Health Service employee under 42 U.S.C. 233(g)-(n).
Medicaid, Medicare, and commercial health insurance welcome. No patient will be denied health care services due to an individual’s inability to pay for services.
Improvements to the Family Health & Wellness Center in Hartford are supported in part by the State of Connecticut Nonprofit Grant Program, the Connecticut Health & Educational Facilities Authority, the Maximilian E. and Marion O. Hoffman Foundation, and the Ensworth Charitable Foundation. Additional support is provided by Delta Dental of New Jersey Foundation.
Wheeler’s Family Health & Wellness Center in Bristol receives additional support from the United Way of West Central Connecticut.
Wheeler provides comprehensive solutions that address complex health issues, providing individuals, families, and communities with accessible, innovative care that encourages health, recovery, and growth at all stages of life. Our integrated approach to primary and behavioral health, education, and recovery creates measurable results, positive outcomes, and hopeful tomorrows for more than 30,000 individuals across Connecticut each year. Learn more: www.wheelerclinic.org.