Community Health Center of the North Country (CHCNC) actually started in 1975 as a division of United Cerebral Palsy Association of the North Country, Inc. providing care to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Today, our overall agency has approximately 400 employees offering programs and services across the North Country. We operate four Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), which provide services to all members of the communities in which we serve. In 2020, we had a patient population of approximately 12,400, including 3,689 children, 2,896 adults over the age of 60, and 555 veterans. Almost seventy percent of the population was Medicaid/Medicare beneficiaries, and just under five percent were uninsured.
The story has very humble beginnings; initially our team operated out of a single room office, but over its 45+ years of existence, experienced expansion of services and staff leading to the agency moving and relocating a number of times. In 1987, the main administrative office relocated to 4 Commerce Lane in Canton with approximately 21 employees. Shortly there after, the agency applied for and met the criteria to become certified by the New York State Department of Health as an Article 28 Diagnostic & Treatment Center. This paved the way to providing services to all residents of the North Country and not just those with disabilities. In 2002, the organization became its own entity under a local Board of Directors, and two years later added an additional 18,000 square feet to the 4 Commerce Lane building to accommodate the rapid expansion of services available to the North Country community.
2007 was a landmark year for our team. The Community Health Centers in both St. Lawrence & Franklin Counties were designated as Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs). This designation paved the way to the Community Health Center of the North Country (CHCNC) you see today: primary, dental, behavioral, physical, and pediatric care available to all residents of the North Country regardless of insurance status, or ability to pay. And growth did not stop there: in 2012, construction on a new building in Malone was completed to accommodate the expansion of services for the Northern Franklin County area; in October of 2013, to help fill the healthcare void after E.J. Noble Hospital in Gouverneur closed, CHCNC opened up an additional FQHC site, not affiliated with, but co-located with St. Lawrence Health System's Gouverneur Hospital.
In 2015, Community Health Center of the North Country took over administration of the WIC Program in St. Lawrence and Franklin Counties, and integrated their teams into our health centers in Canton and Malone to improve access to Pediatric care. Finally, responding once again to a need for more access to care, in January 2020, CHCNC opened up a fourth Federally Qualified Health Center in Ogdensburg, NY.
As the healthcare industry continues to evolve in the coming years, our team will continue looking for new ways to provide our community members with the best services possible. We are proud to have truly developed a model allowing us to become a safety net provider for everyone in the communities we serve.
Our mission is to provide comprehensive, accessible health and human services in the counties of Northern New York, and to offer services to people of all income levels with a special commitment to low income, medically underserved individuals, and people with disabilities.