December 17, 2014; The Post-Standard (Syracuse, N.Y.)

The Syracuse Community Health Center has been planning since 2011 to build a 60,000-foot addition to its current facilities at a cost of $14 million. However, Ben Moore, chairman of the center’s board of directors, says that the center has experienced a 10 percent decline in patients this year and that it makes sense for the organization to step back and see what the patient load can support in the long term:

“If the building is over-programmed and we get financing for it, and we have to repay the financing, and it’s not the (patient) volume it should be, that’s going to be a really significant problem for the health center,” Moore said. “It could be catastrophic to make that big of a mistake.”

New York State has already committed $3.1 million for the project and the land has been set aside, but it is wise to wait to gauge exactly why patient volumes appear to be declining before committing to additional fixed costs, as that volume will drive revenue levels.

The health center says that patient volumes started to drop last spring and they are still not sure why.

Syracuse Community Health Center is one of a network of 1,300 such centers nationwide. This network was expected to bear a much larger load after the implementation of the ACA.—Ruth McCambridge