Interview with Regina Rogoff on $10 Million Grant to People’s Community Clinic

Written by Steve Wilson

Earlier this month, St. David’s Foundation awarded a $10 million grant to People’s Community Clinic to build its new headquarters in Northeast Austin at 1101 Camino La Costa. People’s Community Clinic says the new 54,000-square-foot facility will open by November 2015 and at least double the 10,000 patients it serves now.

Serving underserved and uninsured patients in Central Texas, People’s Community Clinic will turn its existing 17,000 square-foot space at 2909 N I-35 into a specialty clinic for prenatal and women’s health services.

We spoke about the grant and the move with Regina Rogoff, a long-time Cherrywood resident and CEO of People’s Community Clinic since 2003.

How long have you yourself lived in Cherrywood?

I’ve been here since 1973. I’m right across from Genesis Presbyterian. If I was Presbyterian instead of Jewish, it would be really convenient.

People’s Community Clinic formed in 1970, but how long has it been in Cherrywood?

We moved over here in 1993, and remodeled this building, added a second story, more square footage. We’ve doubled it, basically. Since I’ve been here we’ve remodeled twice.

When did People’s Community Clinicstart up in Cherrywood, and why?

When we opened we were coming from West Campus, and Cherrywood at the time was fairly central to the people we were serving. The neighborhood’s population has changed. It’s not as campus-centric as we used to be. It’s more family oriented now.

You get annual operating funding from St. David’s Foundation already. How did this additional grant money come about from them?

The funding we get from St. David’s is obviously something we very much appreciate. I think part of the concern from St. David’s was whether we had capacity to grow that much and whether would need more operational support from them if we grew. So they committed $10 million to keep operations going. We had a good give and take, and they asked us to provide them business plan documents. It took a while to but I was happy with outcome.

When did you start to realize it might be time to move the primary operation from Cherrywood?

We’ve known for a long time that we’d exceeded our capacity [at our current location]. I think it came to a head for us a few years ago, when we were offered land on Manor Road at the south end of the Mueller development. We realized that even if we were given free land we wouldn’t have the business model to sustain a larger program. That’s when we really revisited the idea of whether or not we could grow by being just a charitable clinic. At that point we decided we needed to become a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC).

We started that process in 2010, and by 2012 received the designation. As a Federally Qualified Health Center, we receive a number of benefits, including a federal grant and a higher Medicaid reimbursement rate, among other things. That allows us to build the business model that’s allowed us to grow. And it was part of that getting bigger location.

You are maxed-out?

We’re landlocked and maxed-out on space. We’re overusing this building because don’t have parking capacity. We’re very grateful to the neighborhood for not complaining when our parking has spilled over into the streets. We’re just so cramped here that you can’t grow here. Plus 50% of our patients live in the zip codes centered on where we’re moving. Only 15% of patients live in a two-mile radius of our location now.

But you’ll still be using the Cherrywood building, right?

We plan to keep this building. It will likely be used as a prenatal and women’s health site. That way we can grow our other lines of business, including pediatric, adolescent and adult health care, as well as health promotion and prevention services. This is my neighborhood and I really appreciate that the community here has supported us.

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