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Wednesday, Apr 25, 2018
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Health centers coming to areas of need

Three Tampa Family Health Centers Inc. — including one near downtown — are under construction and expected to open this fall.

The three are part of a growing nonprofit community health system, begun in 1984, that soon will include 15 health centers.

One will be a 2,500-square-foot facility in the Encore!, a 40-acre multi-use complex on Nebraska Avenue just north of downtown; another of 15,000 square feet will be in East Tampa at 6216 E. Sligh Ave.; and the largest, 30,000 square feet, will be on Fletcher Avenue, just west of Florida Avenue.

All three will offer primary care with East Tampa and North Tampa including dental care, a pharmacy, obstetrics and other services.

All accept Medicare, Medicaid, Hillsborough County insurance and insurance through the Affordable Care Act. They also serve the uninsured, said Charles R. Bottoms, president and CEO of the nonprofit group.

The decision of where to locate the centers is based on demographics.

“All of our centers are based on high density,” Bottoms said. “We know there is a need in those areas.”

The new Fletcher Avenue center is a short distance from a center on Fowler Avenue.

“But Fowler Avenue can’t keep up,” Bottoms said. “We couldn’t put another doctor in there as there is no room.”

Edward P. Kucher, the chief operations officer, said the centers saw more than 73,000 individual patients last year — resulting in more than 212,000 visits for medical and dental needs.

Several years ago, the nonprofit organization took over Hillsborough County Health Department Centers and has been operating them since.

Sherry Hoback, the chief clinical services officer, said the new centers will be part of a centralized call system, and patients can be assisted by patient care navigators, case managers and others to help coordinate care.

Care may also involve integrating behavioral health specialists, which is being done at some of the centers, she said.

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