The Streamwood Community Health Center opening today brings health care and dental services to uninsured and underinsured residents who previously had to travel to Elgin for care.
The new location at 135 E. Irving Park Road is the latest of the Greater Elgin Family Care Center, which in just 11 years has grown to serve 28,000 people from 276 different ZIP codes, President and CEO Bob Tanner said.
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"What will be different is that this will be our first health center significantly east of Elgin," Tanner said.
Only last October, the Federally Qualified Health Center expanded significantly north of Elgin with a location in McHenry.
A Federally Qualified Health Center can provide primary health and dental care to uninsured, publicly insured and underinsured patients for less than a tenth the cost of other facilities, Tanner said.
Patients pay on a sliding scale based on how close they are to the poverty level and the number of people in their household.
In contrast to the political firestorm that continues to rage over President Barack Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Federally Qualified Health Centers receive strong bipartisan support, Tanner said.
During President George W. Bush's eight-year administration, for instance, the federal funding for such centers doubled, he added.
Funds for the new Streamwood center came from an Illinois Capital Development Board grant, with partial operating support provided by the Bureau of Primary Health Care.
"We wrote a grant to the federal government that scored a perfect 100," Tanner said.
Today's grand opening will be from 4 to 6 p.m., and the public is welcome. Elected officials from Streamwood and surrounding communities are expected to attend.
The center's normal hours of operation will be from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Although not specifically an immediate care center, walk-ins and same-day appointments will be possible, Tanner said. But there will be no radiology equipment to x-ray for broken bones or facilities to treat most new injuries, which are best handled by an emergency room, he added.
In addition to its designated health centers, Greater Elgin Family Care Center also supplies personnel who provide health and dental services for about 1,800 children each year at more than 20 schools in Elgin Area School District U-46 and Community Unit District 300.
These help families by bringing such services to the most familiar and accessible of locations, Tanner said.
Although normal operations will begin in Streamwood at 8 a.m. today, services will end early at 3:30 p.m. to prepare for the grand opening party.