The Nursing home in Maltawhose truck has provided primary healthcare to residents of Hartford and East Hartford since 2006, will begin welcoming its customers to a new, state-of-the-art renovation site on the campus of St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Hartford on Tuesday.
The Cathedral Community Center will also provide expanded space for the cathedral’s pantry, which already served more meals in 2022 than in all of 2021, according to Archbishop Leonard Blair.
Malta House CEO Vicki Feltry said on Monday that the centre, which is located in a former church hall, has been “destroyed, renovated and upgraded to standard” to provide comprehensive primary care to low-income residents of the Asylum Hill neighborhood. . So far, Malta House has provided care primarily through its medical truck, which serves patients at the cathedral as well as at two locations in Hartford and East Hartford, it said.
This beautiful static website, created at a cost of $1.5 million from The Hartford Bishops Foundationwill enable Malta House to serve 2½ more patients than it can with the truck, and increase the chance that the truck will be used to serve more people, Feltree said.
Since 2006, Blair said, Malta House has served 70,000 free visits from uninsured clients. He said the new site was “just a remarkable transformation that has been achieved thanks to the generosity of so many people”.
“You have to try to get people where they are,” Feltree said. “People have limited transportation capacity. …so I think the location will serve Asylum Hill, which is the mainstream neighborhood we serve very well. But she opens up the truck to go elsewhere.”
The clinic “provides comprehensive primary care services, and I will say, longitudinal as well, because we have patients who have stayed with us for such a long time,” Feltre said. “Service providers have committed for a long time. So we work with a small staff, but we also have the good fortune of having about 40 volunteers also working with us to provide this care to our community.”
Volunteers include doctors, nurses, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners, among others.
“It’s an enormous group of people, very committed to helping people who wouldn’t get coverage any other way,” Feltree said. “We are looking at residents who cannot qualify for Medicaid or other coverage either because of their immigrant status or otherwise ineligible for insurance coverage.”
Most of the patients are “very low income,” Feltre said, representing about 30 languages and more than 50 countries of origin. She said there are Spanish and Portuguese translators on staff, “and I’m going to work on that too, because we have a very large group of Portuguese-speaking patients” from Brazil and Portugal who make up a large community in Hartford, she said.
Malta House also serves patients from Ghana at East Hartford Van Station on Mondays at St Rose’s Roman Catholic Church, 33 St. The truck also goes to St. Augustine’s Church, 10 Campfield Avenue, Hartford, on Thursdays.
Other times, patients were examined in the cathedral’s basement and then taken to the van for treatment.
Feltree said the Malta House also occasionally used a Woodland Street location, “but it was smaller than our needs. We needed more space. And we needed to update it.”
The center has five examination rooms and private reception areas and is “much more than that, I think, convenient for our patients, who I think would be a nice location for them to come to for their health care,” Feltre said. She also said the new location “kind of frees us up a little bit to get more neighborhoods with our truck.”
The center will also offer OB/GYN services, COVID-19 and flu clinics, behavioral health care and specialty days for dental, vision and cardiology.
Malta House is operated under the auspices of Knights of MaltaIt is a secular Catholic order that provides care to the poor, said Blair. “I think we provide a unique service and we have been around for a long time and we want to continue to do that and this clinic is just helping us expand it,” Feltre said.
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Blair said the pantry, which is run by members of the cathedral diocese, would also be able to serve more in need.
“In 2022 alone, more than 11,000 people from the greater Hartford area were served in the cathedral’s pantry, and there are more families and individuals in the first eight months of 2022 than in the whole of 2021,” he said.
He said the store would be able to expand its hours and be able to offer blood pressure checks, nutrition counseling, and facilitate home delivery of food.
“The pantry helps people move from homelessness or shelters to apartments, including women coming from domestic violence shelters, and men and women coming out of prison,” Blair said. “These things also end up under sight in the pantry. … They also offer non-food items such as personal hygiene items, diapers, clothing, and household items.”
Blair said 41 tons of food have been received from Connecticut Foodshare over the years. “So having the cathedral’s greatly enhanced pantry is going to be a huge boon to the charity and fellowship that we want to extend to the local community,” he said.
“I don’t think people are aware, even our Catholic people or the broader community, of the extent of the service that is being rendered through St. Joseph’s Cathedral,” he said. “And this new facility, thanks to the generosity of so many people, will make it even bigger.”
Ed Stannard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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