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Larger Free Health Center To Open In Hackensack At Christmas

Amanda Missey of BVMI at the central nursing station now under construction at 75 Essex Street. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash
Mike Fotos of Greater Bergen Community Action, project manager for the new BVMI health center. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash
The new 5,000-square-foot BVMI health center on Essex Street apportions space differently than at the Moore Street location. It's also 1,500 square feet larger. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash
Sheetrock arrives. Completion for the medical center, which is entirely privately funded, is expected in two months. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash

HACKENSACK, N.J. — The new Hackensack digs of a medical center that provides free health care to 1,000 Bergen County patients is rapidly progressing.

“We’re Sheetrocking now,” said an excited Amanda Missey, president and CEO of the nonprofit Bergen Volunteer Medical Initiative (BVMI).

The current 3,500-square-foot facility at 241 Moore Street is up and running.

Meanwhile, a few blocks away at the corner of Essex and State streets, the new 5,000-square-foot facility is under way.

When will it be ready? Christmastime, Missey said.

The Moore Street location is owned by Greater Bergen Community Action, another key poverty-fighting county nonprofit. It, too, will be moving since the building is slated for demolition under Hackensack’s revitalization plan.

Greater Bergen is paying almost half the cost of the $800,000 expansion, according to Missey.

BVMI is using the move as an occasion to spread the word that its 60 clinical volunteers, including doctors and nurses, can treat more people.

“We’re actively seeking new patients,” said Missey.

Especially in Englewood.

Only 50 current BVMI patients are from Englewood. A total of 375 are from Hackensack.

“The two towns have similar demographics,” she added, “so we should have a lot more patients from Englewood.”

According to recent statistics from the Kaiser Family Foundation, 39,600 Bergen residents are ineligible for any coverage or subsidies due to their immigration status.

Another 8,580 are eligible for subsidies but can’t afford their deductibles or co-pays, rendering them essentially uncovered.

Those are the two populations BVMI serves.

Any Bergen individual with either insurance situation can qualify for treatment if he or she earns up to $36,000 a year. The same is true for a family of four that earns up to $72,000 a year.

The new facility, like the current one, will have six exam rooms.

But it’s picking up a diabetes education room, a nurse navigator’s office, and another consult room for eligibility screening.

“Right now, we’ve appropriated closets and walled-off little holes for those functions,” Missey said. “The other big thing we’re picking up is 1,500 square feet of administrative space.”

BVMI has several public events planned to spread awareness of what it does:

  • “Get to know BVMI,” 6-9 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 2, SUEZ, 200 Lake Shore Drive, Haworth;
  • “Hard Hat Tour,” 9 a.m. Nov. 8, BVMI, 75 Essex St., Hackensack;
  • “Hard Hat Tour,” 4 p.m. Nov. 17, BVMI, 75 Essext St., Hackensack.

To reserve space at any of these events, call 201-638-4599.

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