Open Door Family Medical Centers is now accepting patients at its new facility in Sleepy Hollow.
The community health center opened the two-story, 12,500-square-foot facility at 300 N. Broadway earlier this month.
“It took a long time,” said Lindsay Farrell, president and CEO of Open Door. “A very long time. This has been years in the making.”
The building on North Broadway sat vacant for years, having previously served as a car dealership, a health club and the offices of a plumbing company. While Open Door bought it in 2011, the organization’s move initially faced resistance from the village, with concerns ranging from traffic to parking issues.
To remedy those concerns, Open Door’s plans included the construction of an adjacent covered parking garage along with a second, uncovered lot at 310 Broadway.
“It’s exciting that we’re finally here now,” Farrell said.
Open Door has been a part of the Sleepy Hollow community for more than 30 years, having operated a facility in the village since 1985, first at 54 Beekman Ave. and later a block away at 80 Beekman Ave.
“We knew we weren’t going to be able to stay on Beekman because the facility wasn’t big enough,” Farrell said. “I think this is the perfect location.”
With the opening of the new facility, the 80 Beekman Ave. center will close its doors as those offices transition to North Broadway.
The center, which will employ up to 40 people, will offer a range of services, including primary care, family medicine and behavioral health care.
Open Door Sleepy Hollow will feature 18 medical exam rooms, laboratories and counseling space. With the new facility, the organization will also expand its residency program partnership with Phelps Hospital Northwell Health.
“I’m particularly pleased that the new Sleepy Hollow location expands the capabilities of our residency programs,” said Dr. Daren Wu, chief, medical officer at Open Door. “There is a critical shortage of primary care physicians in the United States, and yet we know just what a vital role they play in providing cost-effective, yet high-quality care. Operating out of this larger state-of-the-art facility will increase our reach and extend our positive impact in the surrounding communities.”
The new location will also offer educational programming areas for the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, including a kitchen area that will be used for demonstrations by the organization’s nutritionist.
“We’ll be able to show people that eating well is really not that hard,” Farrell said. “There are ways they can manage it.”
The facility also offers a dental care practice with four examination rooms on the ground floor that is set to open in the coming weeks.
“There’s a big demand for this,” Farrell said of the organization’s dental care practice, which operates facilities in Ossining, Port Chester and Brewster. “We can never keep up with the demand.”
The opening comes just weeks after Farrell and other community health providers breathed a sigh of a relief when Congress passed a two-year extension of the Community Health Centers Fund. The funding deadline originally expired on Sept. 30, leaving community health centers like Open Door with an uncertain future.
The grant accounts for about 70 percent of the $6 million in federal funding that Open Door receives.
“We were very relieved that we were in” the legislation, Farrell said. “Hopefully they’ll re-up it before it expires like it did this time.”
Open Door, which offers a sliding fee scale for those without health insurance, serves more than 55,000 patients each year throughout Westchester and Putnam counties. The new Sleepy Hollow location joins existing Open Door health centers in Brewster, Mamaroneck, Mount Kisco, Ossining and Port Chester, in addition to six school-based health centers and mobile dental services.
With the doors of the Sleepy Hollow facility open to the public, the health center will now shift its focus to the north, with plans to open a dental practice in Saugerties. That office would mark the organization’s first foray outside of Westchester and Putnam counties.
“We have the plans and we’ve submitted them to the state,” Farrell said. “I would be thrilled if that was open in 2018.”