December 13, 2017

Torrington community health center gets $1M loan to bolster opioid efforts

The Community Health & Wellness Center (CHWC) of Greater Torrington has received $1 million in financing to help it better address the region's opioid crisis.

New-York-based Primary Care Development Corp. provided the financing to CHWC, which is a federally qualified health center.

PCDC is a U.S. Treasury-certified community development financial institution that provides loans to practices to update, modernize, or expand their operations. It also provides experts who partner with healthcare providers to improve their services and outcomes.

CHWC will use the money to support hiring of providers trained in opioid treatment, IT upgrades to integrate previously siloed primary, mental health and substance abuse care, and other growth measures to help CHWC improve care integration and track care delivery, according to PCDC's William O'Brien, chief lending officer, and Johvanna Sampson, senior loan officer.

"The goal is to provide a more holistic delivery of care to the community," with opioid treatment a clear initiative, O'Brien said.

In addition to PCDC's $1 million loan, CHWC was awarded a $175,700 federal grant in September from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to fund staff and programmatic costs for treatment of mental health and opioid abuse.

CHWC's project is the first to be financed through the PCDC's Transformation Loan Fund, a pilot program that provides flexible financing for pressing infrastructure needs, allowing community health centers to focus on core health services. PCDC initially worked with CHWC in 2013, PCDC's first financing project outside New York state, when it loaned $1.5 million as part of a New Markets Tax Credit financing for CHWC to roughly double its physical size, O'Brien said.

Since then, PCDC has helped other expansion projects in Hartford, Stamford, Middletown and Danbury, plus about a dozen other U.S. cities, he said.

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