News: Health and Literacy Center Offers Integrated Healthcare, Literacy, Recreation Services

Health and Literacy Center Offers Integrated Healthcare, Literacy, Recreation Services

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and city officials hosted a ceremonial groundbreaking in September to announce the Community Health and Literacy Center, which will provide healthcare, literacy, and recreational services in one location for children and families in South Philadelphia.

When completed in late 2015, the Community Health and Literacy Center will have four fully integrated components:

  • The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Care Network, Primary Care, South Philadelphia
  • The City of Philadelphia’s Health
  • Center 2
  • The Free Library’s South Philadelphia Neighborhood Library
  • The DiSilvestro Recreation Center.

These four community services will be housed together as a one-stop facility for children and families to enhance their health, literacy, and well-being, and present opportunities for integrated programming.

“The multi-purpose facility that will stand on this site represents CHOP’s commitment to finding new and innovative ways to improve the health and well-being of children,” said Steven M. Altschuler, MD, chief executive office of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “I can think of no better partner than the City of Philadelphia to work with on this project. This Center will deliver value beyond the sum of its parts, providing access to services that promote healthy living for families and individuals throughout this community. It is the first time that a city and hospital have come together in the management of population health in ways never envisioned before.”

This unique public-private effort started out as a solution to the health, educational, and recreational needs of the community. CHOP was seeking to expand its burgeoning South Philadelphia primary care office, and the city wanted to renovate Health Center 2, the library, and recreation center. Under the agreement, the city will provide a lease on the site at a nominal fee to CHOP along with $2.2 million to support construction. CHOP will develop the land, including construction of a 96,000 square-foot facility and outdoor space, at a total cost of $42.5 million.

The 1.59-acre site will consist of a three-story building and a new playground. The CHOP Care Network, Primary Care, South Philadelphia office will re-locate from nearby St. Agnes Hospital to the third floor of this facility. The City of Philadelphia’s Health Center 2 will be housed on the second floor.  The first floor of the new building will be dedicated to the Library, Recreation Center, lobby, and covered parking.

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Care Network, Primary Care, South Philadelphia is one of CHOP’s fastest-growing primary care practices in Philadelphia with more than 31,000 patient visits annually. The new facility will provide expanded space—6,200 square feet of additional space—and equipment, enhancing the patient and family experience.

Health Center 2 is one of the busiest health centers operated by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and has served residents of South Philadelphia for more than 40 years. Prior to moving to its temporary location at the former St. Agnes Hospital to allow construction of the new facility, Health Center 2 provided nearly 50,000 patient visits annually. Health Center 2 offers adult and pediatric care; women’s healthcare including gynecology, family planning, and prenatal care; as well as dental care. The new facility will also offer radiology and mammography services.

Built in 1961, the DiSilvestro Playground and Recreation Center was a small center with outdated equipment and a hard-surface play area. The Recreation Center has offered 11 youth-oriented programs, such as computer science, art, and music, throughout the year. The new area will feature substantial green space, a rain garden, and state-of-the-art construction materials to create a soft, smooth playground surface. The Recreation Center will double in size and be able to expand the number and frequency of its programs.

The South Philadelphia Neighborhood Library is a haven for learning, social interaction, and cultural activities, all located within a safe space. Expected to draw an additional 35,000 customers annually, the new library will include an additional day of operation and expanded programming. The library will receive the latest technology and a new collection when it reopens thanks to a generous gift from the William Penn Foundation. In addition to programming previously offered for both children and adults, the library will feature a Consumer Health Resource Center; dedicated space for creative activities with access to a new computer lab, 3-D printer, and supplies; additional literacy programming; and career development computer education.

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia was founded in 1855 as the nation’s first pediatric hospital. Through its long-standing commitment to providing exceptional patient care, training new generations of pediatric healthcare professionals, and pioneering major research initiatives, Children’s
Hospital has fostered many discoveries that have benefited children worldwide. Its pediatric research program receives the highest amount of National Institutes of Health funding among all U.S.
children’s hospitals. In addition, its unique family-centered care and public service programs have brought the 535-bed hospital recognition as a leading advocate for children and adolescents.
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