New Primary Care Facilities Support New York City's Underserved Communities

    • April 1, 2001

From August 1993 through January 1999, RWJF joined in a multi-foundation New York City-State effort to improve access to basic health services to New York City residents through a program focusing on planning, development and construction of new primary care facilities.

The initiative provided start-up support for a new, independent organization, the Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC), set up by New York City (NYC). A total of $35.1 million from a variety of public and private sources supported PCDC's operations, project development, and capital development.

With $17 million of this funding, received as a capital grant from the city, PCDC set up and administered the Primary Care Development Fund, a revolving loan fund. The bulk of the loan fund proceeds were used for planning and development costs for sponsors of new facilities, including costs for facility design and obtaining regulatory approvals, and special reserve funds to provide additional security for facility capital financing.

Key Results

  • By the end of the second RWJF grant, 21 facilities were in operation and 7 were under construction, representing a total investment of approximately $100 million.

  • All 28 facilities were located in underserved communities throughout the city's five boroughs.

  • At full capacity, the facilities were projected to provide 730,000 patient visits annually, and generate nearly 1,000 jobs, many in the city's most economically distressed areas.

  • In collaboration with four of the city's largest banks—Citibank, Republic, and JP Morgan—PCDC also created a $20 million primary care loan pool to finance small projects (defined as those under $3 million. Called the Primary Care Capital Fund (PCCF), it was intended to assist small projects for which PCDC's tax-exempt bond program was inappropriate.

    • In Spring 1999, PCCF received an award for innovation from Social Compact, a Washington-based national community development organization.

Project Administration: PCDC staff also provided technical assistance to the primary care facilities sponsors for identifying sites, completing required land use and environmental reviews, program and facility design, and obtaining health care regulatory approvals.

Afterward: In Fall 1999, PCDC's governing board decided to expand the organization's mandate by increasing the number of loans to modernize existing primary care facilities and expanding its programs to improve facilities' operational efficiency, effectiveness, and quality.