NYS Health Commissioner Speaks at Baer Center Opening

Posted on June 19, 2011

by Andrea Roy, Communications Director, Fountain House
and Camille Tibaldeo, Communications Manager, Fountain Gallery


[[wysiwyg_imageupload:159:]][[wysiwyg_imageupload:160:]]Dr. Shah, Dr. Aquila, FH President Kenn Dudek, FH member Marty CohenDr. Shah, Dr. Aquila, FH President Kenn Dudek, FH member Marty CohenOn June 14, New York State Health Commissioner Nirav R. Shah, MD, MPH, was the featured speaker as The Sidney Baer Center, a medical facility integrating physical and behavioral health and wellness, cut the ribbon at its new location, 347 West 37th Street in Manhattan. A joint project of Fountain House and St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital, The Baer Center has been providing for the psychiatric and physical health needs of Fountain House members for more than a decade; the renovation of its new location was funded by the Sidney R. Baer, Jr. Foundation.    

“On behalf of Governor Cuomo and the State Health Department, I congratulate Fountain House on this wonderful achievement,” said Dr. Shah. “Fountain House has been on the leading edge of offering integrated care to New Yorkers with complex needs for more than a decade. With this new expansion of the Sidney Baer Center, Fountain House members will have increased access to critical, high-quality care that addresses the full spectrum of their needs.”

  The expansion of the Baer Center is timely, as rising Medicaid expenses have caused states to adopt cost-effective new strategies to improve services among heavy users of the system.   In New York, people with serious mental illness, many of whom also have chronic chemical dependency and medical disorders, are among the 20% of special needs Medicaid recipients who are driving 75% of spending.  The Center has been in the forefront as a model of one such solution now attracting interest nationwide: the “health home,” a person-centered system of care that facilitates access to and coordination of a complement of physical health services, behavioral health care, and long-term community-based supports.  The Baer Center currently provides psychiatric services to 300 Fountain House members and primary medical care to 500; it is expected that the expansion will allow the Center to double that patient load.  

Baer Foundation Trustee George Handran joins in to cut the ribbon.Baer Foundation Trustee George Handran joins in to cut the ribbon.“The beauty and function of the new Sidney Baer Center furthers the concept of the ‘health home’ that we have been implementing over the past 12 years,” said Dr. Ralph Aquila, Medical Director of the Center and a psychiatrist at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital.  “Fountain House has brought the social services component to the table, and together we’ve connected the dots to demonstrate the benefits of integrated care, long before they were generally recognized,” continued Aquila.  “The new Sidney Baer Center represents a significant upgrade in delivery of medical-psychiatric services to the Fountain House community,” concluded Aquila.

The Center plans to further advance its mission by integrating fitness, nutrition, and mind-body programming at Fountain House’s soon-to-be-launched Lewis Wellness Center and including this data with medical data in electronic records.  Another goal is to provide healthy meals as part of a greater integration of services aiming toward a comprehensive wellness initiative. 


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