Although only 10 years old, the Hilltop Community Health Center's (HCHC) roots began 40 years ago in Sto Rox with a program developed by two priests and an nun,
Joanne Andiorio, COO of the HCHC, explained the past, present and future of her organization at the Mount Washington Community Development Corp's. July community forum.
One aspect of the original program, a pediatrics program in the basement of a bank, grew into the current Sto Rox Community Health Center.
She explained about 14 years ago, members of a Beltzhoover community group approached Fr. Ryan, a founder of the Sto Rox heath center, and asked if it would be possible to locate a health facility in their neighborhood. Before coming to Sto Rox, the Beltzhoover group had been turned down by a number of other health care providers. Fr. Ryan, however, said yes they would be interested.
A little over ten years ago they were able to acquire a piece of land on Climax Street and joined several trailers to operate out of while they looked for money to build a permanent building on the site. Ten years later they are still operating out of the trailers, but not for long.
Ms. Andiorio said that began to change two years ago when they applied for and received a Federally Qualified Health Centers grant. The grant, under a portion of ObamaCare designated for building health care centers, provided almost $2 million for a build-out and another $400,000 to furnish the building with the equipment needed to operate.
She added although there was funding for the building, they still need money to operate. Much of that comes from patients' insurance and those without insurance are charged on a sliding scale.
The space for the new Hilltop Community Health Center is in the South Hills Retirement Residence about two-tenths of a mile away from the current location. The new facility was designed by Thoughtful Balance in one of the two gyms in the former South Hills High School building.
The new 7,000 sq. ft. facility will include adult and pediatric medicine, in addition to having a podiatrist one day a week, psychiatric services and a dentist on a referral basis when it opens on July 28. Initially, the operating hours will be from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. It's anticipated as patient loads increase, they will probably expand to some evening and Saturday hours.
The contact telephone number, 412-431-3520, will remain the same.