La Comunidad Hispana seeks to expand in Oxford
By Steven Hoffman
The Borough of Oxford will hold a conditional-use hearing on June 22 at 7 p.m. to hear the application by La Comunidad Hispana to operate a community health center in the former Oxford Sewer Authority building at 14 S. Third Street in Oxford. The current Oxford location at 303 N. Third Street was opened in 2016. That location has been very successful, which is why they are now looking at a larger building.
Mariana Izraelson, the CEO of La Comunidad Hispana, said, “We are so proud to be able to provide integrated health care, mental health, and social assistance to Oxford. It is an amazing community. We can’t wait to continue to grow here.”
Once they secure a larger space in Oxford, they will be so much more accessible to the Oxford community. Many people already walk to their current location, even in the bad weather. The new location will be convenient for those who do not have transportation. One more thing they like about 14 S. Third Street is that it is located in the center of the town.
The new site would allow room to fully incorporate the integrated model of care preferred by LCH. There are so many external factors that affect overall health of a person, such as weight, stress, job loss, unhealthy relationships, that LCH offers a mix of providers and services that are mindful of all issues. LCH staff work as a team to provide health care, behavioral health, and social services. For example, any patient would have access to the social assistance team, which is a group of case workers who help patients with applying for health insurance, getting connected with local community resources like Oxford Area Neighborhood Services Center (NSC) and coordinating specialty appointments and follow-up medical visits. They would finally have room for the whole team to provide services to Oxford residents.
LCH also works with Domestic Violence Center of Chester County (DVCCC). Staff from DVCCC work on-site in their Kennett Square and West Grove locations, and they plan to have a person in LCH’s space in the Oxford office as well. It is important to have someone on location so they can provide as much support as possible at the moment the support is needed.
LCH was founded in 1973 in Kennett Square, and since then has opened facilities in Oxford and in West Grove. The health centers in Kennett Square and Oxford focus on integrated primary care services as well as chronic care management. West Grove is a specialty site, housing a dental center, a women’s health center, and pediatrics. Behavioral health is available at all three of the locations. They offer integrated behavioral health, where counseling is a part of a medical visit, out-patient therapy, and psychiatric medication management.
The organization has a long, strong history of serving the community. But a big challenge is to get the message out that LCH is there for everyone.
“LCH was originally founded as a small nonprofit to help the Latino population new to the area, but over the years, as we have transitioned to a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), we as an agency have grown and changed to better serve the entire community,” said Laura Mackiewicz, brand manager. “We are so proud of our cultural roots, and the rich diversity of the community. We are absolutely here for everyone.”
Mackiewicz works with the local community and media to spread the word about LCH services, and to share the message that LCH welcomes all.
Regardless of insurance status, LCH makes the promise that they can help. They evaluate everyone to determine if they qualify for discounted services through a sliding fee scale based on income and family size. But no one is turned away due to inability to pay. LCH also accepts Medicaid, Medicare, and most private insurance. LCH caseworkers can also help patients find insurance. When LCH was first founded, there was no Affordable Care Act, and very limited options. The caseworkers help patients understand and apply for an insurance plan that best fits the needs of their family.
LCH has been getting to know Oxford for the last several years through community events like Oxford First Fridays. Their outreach team has also partnered with local nonprofits like the Lighthouse and SIILO for wellness checks and community programming. As Mackiewicz continues to get the word out, she is also excited about getting to know and work with other non-profits and leaders like Oxford Borough mayor Phil Harris.
“We have been hoping to grow in Oxford for quite a while,” Mackiewicz said. “We will be reintroducing ourselves and learning how we can all work together to build a strong, healthy community.”