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No Insurance? No Problem

Bishop McHugh Health Center

keeps Hicksville healthy 

With dropping temperatures come the regular coughing, sniffling and sneezing. For many people in the community, getting treated for the flu or a sickness means a simple trip to the doctor. But for others, having no insurance means having to risk a simple cold turning into something much more serious.

And that’s where the Bishop McHugh Health Center comes in.

Since opening its doors two years ago, the Bishop McHugh Health Center in Hicksville has served hundreds of uninsured and under-insured patients, giving them primary medical care that they might not otherwise have been able to afford. The facility has a highly trained medical staff that provides patients with physical examinations, lab work, x-rays, flu shots, appropriate immunizations and specialty referrals as needed.

Dr. Patricia Tassinari is the medical director at the Bishop McHugh Health Center and has been practicing medicine since 1985. Tassinari spoke about the uninsured people who seek out medical treatment at the center, saying “these people really have nowhere else to turn and it feels really great being able to help them.” Tassinari added that “it is unfortunate that there are many patients out there who end up in hospital emergency rooms for conditions such as diabetes that have escalated because they were not getting basic primary care.”

The Bishop McHugh Center is a department of St. Francis Hospital and an outgrowth of the mission of Catholic Health Services to meet the needs of the underserved. Jessica Wyman is the manager of program development for Catholic Health Services and has been with the center from its start in November 2011.

“The center is very near and dear to all of us who have worked on this project,” said Wyman. “We grew very quickly soon after we opened and because we are open for 20 hours per week, we hit capacity quite quickly.”

The center is able to refer patients to other services, when they detect life threatening problems. Wyman says that the center not only helps patients, but the community as a whole by decreasing the amount of illness spreading around.  

“The screenings we do for our patients has led us to discover many serious underlying health problems that potentially saved their lives,” said Wyman. “There is (also) less flu and tuberculosis out there, so it is a much wider spread impact. It really is a win-win situation because not only does it benefit our patients who would not have otherwise had access to healthcare, but also the larger community.”

Because the medical facility works closely with St. Ignatius Loyola Church in Hicksville, a good portion of patients are referred to the center by the church. “We hear lots of feedback from our patients,” explained Wyman. “Everyone really has had a positive response to what we are doing for the community. We even have patients who are so grateful, that they donate money and some have even baked cookies for us. I think it speaks volumes of the good that we are doing.”

The center also works closely with insurance representatives to try and provide patients with affordable health care coverage. Both Fidelis Care and the Nassau-Suffolk Hospital Council Facilitated Enrollment Program have their representatives come to the center and talk to the patients. They help them find out which medical insurance is right for them.

Although the center serves the uninsured, they also accept insurance from all the major carriers. Spanish is also spoken at the center to facilitate care for patients from the Latino community.

The Bishop McHugh Health Center was named after Bishop James McHugh who served as the Bishop of Rockville Centre from January 2000 until his passing in December of the same year. The center reflects the Catholic Health Services ongoing commitment to helping people in need.

The Bishop McHugh Health Center is located at 750 South Broadway in Hicksville. Call 516-827-2727 for more information.