LARGO — Community Health Centers of Pinellas sees about 60,000 patients each year for about 200,000 visits.
And those numbers are expected to continue growing, according to Elodie Dorso, CEO of the nonprofit that provides affordable, primary health care services to residents throughout the county.
So, in order to keep up with demand, the organization purchased a 39,118-square-foot facility on the east side of Largo for $3.95 million to serve as its new corporate headquarters.
CHCP officially closed on the property at 14100 58th St. N. on Aug. 15, purchasing the site from 14100 ICOT, LLC.
“We are super excited,” Dorso said. “We have seen tremendous growth over the last several years, and we are in the process of implementing or just implemented new services for our patients.”
Dorso said increased demand for the federally qualified health center’s services prompted the move from its current headquarters, the 28,000-square-foot Johnnie Ruth Clarke Health Center in St. Petersburg.
“We have bought the new facility in Largo to move our administrative offices over there and then expand clinical services and renovate clinical services here at Johnnie Ruth Clarke and be able to offer more services,” she said.
Some of those services offered at its 13 health centers throughout the county include pediatrics, family and internal medicine, dentistry, women’s health care, pharmacy services, dieticians, mental and behavioral care, family planning and chiropractic services.
Dorso said the new Largo headquarters that was once a call center will have a medical and dental clinic as well.
“We’ll have probably approximately 120 employees there overall once we’re fully up and running,” she said. “It’s going to take about 18 months for us to renovate that area and obviously add additional services and stuff there.”
Dorso said the Largo location provides both financial and functional benefits.
“It’s certainly centrally located with us being spread out throughout the county,” she said. “We needed to be getting our administrative offices into a more centrally located portion of the county for better utilization and effectiveness for our team.”
Dorso said another benefit is that the property allows the organization to finance the move through the New Markets Tax Credit Program, which provides a federal tax credit for those who invest in low-income communities.
CHCP also got more good news Sept. 19 when U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist announced it received a $300,000 grant from the Department of Health and Human Services.
“With 12 health centers throughout Pinellas County and a mobile health center to help people on the go, the Community Health Centers of Pinellas offers life-saving services to our low-income and underserved communities,” Crist said in a press release. “I am honored to announce this grant to CHCP, allowing them to continue to lend a helping hand to our neighbors and loved ones.”
While the nonprofit that was founded in 1980 focuses on lower income patients, Dorso said services are available to everyone.
“We are a provider of choice,” she said. “Many of our board members and employees are also patients of care for us and then we have people who have no insurance whatsoever who are placed on a sliding pay scale with us."
For more information about Community Health Centers of Pinellas and the services its provides, visit www.chcpinellas.org/