Street scene of downtown Elmira with brick buildings, parked cars and blue skySoon families in Chemung and Schuyler counties will have a new place to turn to for important health screenings. 

The Economic Opportunity Program, Inc., has recently been awarded a three-year Member and Community Health Improvement grant from Excellus BlueCross BlueShield to add a new Community Health Clinic at its location, 650 Baldwin Street, Elmira. The clinic will offer diabetes, lead and behavioral health screenings to the community.  

“The community health clinic located at EOP aims to improve population health by offering necessary health screenings to community residents that will address various health and social needs,” states Andrea Ogunwumi, CEO, Economic Opportunity Program, Inc. “This community health center became a reality through a collaborative partnership with Arnot Health, the Chemung County Health Department, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield and Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM).” 

The clinic will be staffed by LECOM medical students with oversight provided by Family Medicine residents and an attending physician. LECOM medical students will assist those requiring primary care follow-up with primary care physician appointments at the time of screenings and Arnot Health will provide the necessary lab screening services for the clinic.  

The community health clinic will open to the public April 2022 and will follow a phased approach to implementation.  Phase one includes on-site lead screenings for children, phase two will include mental health screening services for adults using the PHQ-2 screening tool, and phase three will include diabetes hemoglobin A1c testing and blood pressure screenings for adults. 

“Providing access to high-quality health care for people who need it is core to our mission as a nonprofit health plan,” said Jessica Renner, regional president of Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. “We are excited to be a part of this collaborative effort because it shares our commitment to improving the health or health care of residents in our community.” 

The need for better access to preventive care became apparent several years ago during collaborative discussions among local leaders. Since 2016, Common Ground Health has convened the Central Southern Tier Health Alliance comprised of health, business, nonprofit, government, and community leaders in Chemung, Schuyler and Steuben counties with the aim of collaborating and converging existing and new efforts to improve the health of the population.  

As an outgrowth to that process, the alliance and Common Ground Health published a Rapid Health Impact Assessment (HIA) in 2019 examining the health impacts of substandard housing conditions in the City of Elmira.  

The Rapid HIA made a series of recommendations to address housing-related health disparities in asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lead exposure experienced by residents of Elmira’s census tracts 6 and 7. Expansion of health screening services offered to residents at the ESPRI neighborhood hubs was among the HIA’s recommendations. 

Related coverage:

WSKG - New community health clinic in Elmira will provide preventative care

WENY News - New grant to establish new community health clinic in Elmira

WENY News - EOP received community health improvement grant