Talking about how the new Warrensburg Health Center — now under construction — will have a substantial impact on the area’s economy as well as local residents’ health care, are (left to right): U.S. Rep. Bill Owens, Hudson Headwaters health Network Board of Directors Chairman Joe Kelly, HHHN founder and CEO Dr. John Rugge, Warrensburg Supervisor Kevin Geraghty, and state Assemblyman Dan Stec. The discussion occurred Aug. 12, following a tour of the facility, which is expected to be ready for patients in February 2015.
The $9.5 million Warrensburg Health Center now under construction on Main St. will provide an unprecedented boost to both health care and vital economic development in the southern Adirondacks, U.S. Rep. Bill Owens said Aug. 12 during a tour of the facility.
Owens was in Warrensburg to not only see the construction progress, but to receive an award from a national health care organization for his advocacy work on behalf of health centers nationally.
Presenting the award to Owens on behalf of the National Association of Community Health Centers was Dr. John Rugge, founder and CEO of Hudson Headwaters Health Network, the parent firm of 16 health centers in region including the Warrensburg facility.
During Tuesday’s tour of the Warrensburg Health Center, Rugge talked of how the facility — double the size of the existing center — is expected to accommodate various additional specialty health services. This is to be accomplished through an expanded partnership with Glens Falls Hospital and area practitioners. The new specialized services include cancer care, asthma care and cardiac care. Services to be expanded include ear, nose and throat health; urology and neurology; as well as obstetrical and gynecological services. He said that the facility will be equipped and staffed to provide primary care for 8,000 people in Warrensburg, Thurman and portions of adjacent communities, and a total of 25,000 people in surrounding communities as well as Warrensburg.
Rugge said the new health center should be open in February, and that the move of equipment and furnishings from the present health center will be accomplished in two days with no interruption of services to patients.
Former Warrensburg resident Dave Moynehan, a long-time business owner and community activist, was among those taking the tour. Moynehan serves on the Warrensburg Health Center Advisory Board, and he’s been a member of the Warren County Economic Development Corp.’s board of directors for 12 years.
“This new center will be spectacular for all of the southern Adirondacks, considering all the new services that Hudson Headwaters will be offering here,” he said.
Moynehan added that he’s witnessed the substantial growth of Hudson Headwaters since the 1970s, when it was launched with the Chester Health Center, followed by the Warrensburg center that opened in an empty grocery-store building — which it will soon vacate. The chain has grown over 40 years to 16 health centers in the region.
“I don’t know what the North Country and its residents would have done without Hudson Headwaters over all these years,” he said. The network now logs 300,000 patient-visits annually.
Hudson Headwaters Board Chairman Joe Kelly of Minerva said he was impressed with how the Warrensburg Health Center was taking shape.
“The whole North Country will be utilizing services here,” he said, noting the center will have expanded hours of operation.
Warrensburg Supervisor Kevin Geraghty listened to Rugge describe the future flow of patients over the floorplan, and where the health center’s 48 exam rooms would be located.
“This facility, along with Hudson Headwaters’ additional services and practitioners, will be bringing the region’s health care into the new millenium,” Geraghty said. “Along with the new services, we’ll have many more local jobs — it’s a real boon to the area communities.”
Nearby, Owens offered his thoughts.
“This new center will not only provide critically important services, it will be a huge economic driver, considering the new jobs, additional local commerce and sales tax,” he said.
Rugge noted that Owens, during his five years in office, had served as a valuable resource for information on federal health center financing, which has evolved considerably in recent years.
“He knows the financing issues in enormous detail,” Rugge said. “He’s been fantastic.”
Rugge talked with Owens how many older area residents are wary of going to an array of different specialist sspread over the Capital District, and how they far prefer visiting one health center for specialized care — interacting with people they know and trust.
Owens said he understood the benefits of keeping health care close to home.
“It’s critically important to deliver health care as local as possible — it’s not only is better for the patients, but it keeps communities alive and makes them more sustainable.”
Removing his hard-hat after the tour, state Assemblyman Dan Stec (R-Queensbury) said he was impressed with the new facility.
“This health center will be a huge asset for northern Warren County for decades to come,” he said.