Health Care Choices opens satellite in LIC
by Lisa A. Fraser
Mar 01, 2012 | 639 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Brooklyn-based Health Care Choices (HCC) opened its first satellite office in Long Island City on Tuesday, February 28. And the company, known for helping homeless and at-risk populations, is hoping to reach out to more of those specialized populations, as well as the surrounding community in Queens in order to provide them with medical and diagnostic care.

The office will be located at 21-10 Borden Avenue, next to the Institute for Community Living’s Borden Avenue Veteran’s Residence.

“What it really means is that we begin to spread the specialty care we give for specialized populations,” said HCC Executive Director Maria Siebel. “For over 10 years we’ve been doing it in Brooklyn. It’s a gift for us and a gift for Queens.”

Siebel says the center will also help to take the pressure off of the hospitals in Queens, which have seen an increase in patients because of hospital closures, providing residents with urgent care alternative to an emergency room.

The center will immediately provide dental, medical, primary care and psychiatric services. Gradually it will provide specialty care such as gynecology, cardiology and pulmonology. It will also offer walk-in and next-day appointments.

A $675,000 HEAL Grant from the state enabled HCC to begin building a center in Queens in 2009. “We saw that it was densely populated and not enough medical care,” Siebel said.

HCC is also regarded as a Fairly Qualified Health Center (FQHC). And in August 2011, they received an FQHC grant from the federal government, which enabled them to treat 75 percent of the homeless population in Brooklyn as well as seniors, and other community members.

“With that grant we were able to really keep medical care going for people who otherwise would end up in emergency rooms, and provide preventive care,” Siebel said.

The center also does not turn away anyone without legal status. It treats those with and without insurance.

HCC is part of the larger Institute for Community Living (ICL) agency, a not-for-profit organization that assists individuals with psychiatric and developmental disabilities, as well as those with a history of homelessness.

The center will rely on referrals from within its own agency, as well as other agencies such as the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) and Common Ground, which provides supportive housing and outreach programs that target people living on the streets in Brooklyn and Queens.

“Many individuals in special populations don’t get to hear about us and that’s how they end up in hospitals, especially in Queens,” Siebel said.

HCC has also hired outreach workers to get the word out in different shelters throughout Queens and make people aware that a new center will be available in Long Island City.

HCC aims to serve about 3,200 adult patients annually at the Queens location.

For more information about the center, call 718-784-5696 or visit

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