WILDWOOD - A new medical and dental facility designed to make health care more accessible for city residents and visitors is now open.
CompleteCare Health Network, which operates 14 medical and dental facilities and four school-based health offices in Cumberland, Gloucester and Cape May counties, received a $1 million federal grant to open its newest location in Wildwood, an area classified by the federal government as medically underserved.
That designation is determined by an evaluation of statistics, including the number of primary medical care physicians per 1,000 people, infant mortality rates, the percentage of the population with incomes below the poverty line and the percentage of the population 65 or older.
In Wildwood's case, 28 percent of the population has no health insurance, and more than half of the population lives well below the poverty line.
Emily Paul, vice president of marketing for CompleteCare, said the center opened Monday and saw 23 patients the first day at its location at 3700 New Jersey Ave., adjacent to the Wildwood Housing Authority.
"So many of our patients are from Wildwood," Paul said, explaining those patients who had to travel to the Middle Township clinic can now reach the Wildwood location much more easily.
CompleteCare turned a former office and meeting space at the Housing Authority into a 4,500-square-foot facility complete with six exam rooms, a dental-care area and other amenities.
Available services include primary care, pediatrics, OB/GYN, behavioral health, podiatry and dentistry.
"Wildwood is the perfect location," James Edwards, executive vice president for corporate compliance, facilities, community and government relations, said in a statement. He pointed out the new office can be used by residents and visitors to the island.
Wildwood resident and patient Wayne Jones is among those welcoming the convenience.
"Saves me driving up to (Cape May) Court House," he said.
Darlene Clendaniel, assistant director of nursing and site manager for CompleteCare's shore offices, said the location means Wildwood residents don't have to take the bus, but can instead walk to receive the care they need.
Paul said CompleteCare sees patients with or without insurance and accepts most private insurance.
She said patients pay on a sliding scale based on financial ability. The sliding-scale fees start at $20 and go up from there for a medical or dental visit, depending on family size and income.
"We have financial counselors on staff at the Wildwood office who can sit down with patients to review their coverage and payment options," Paul said.
The facility's other goal is to serve as a "school-based" health center, meaning school children from Wildwood will be seen at the site, transported by a CompleteCare vehicle, during the school day with parental permission as recommended by the school's nurse.
"We are currently coordinating services with the Wildwood School District for medical, dental and behavioral health services," Edwards said.
He said parents will be able to sign their children up for care at the beginning of the school year.
Contact Trudi Gilfillian:
CompleteCare in Wildwood
Wildwood's CompleteCare facility is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays. The office is closed Saturday and Sunday.
Scheduling an appointment can be done by calling 609-465-0258 or at completecarenj.org.
CompleteCare will host a grand opening block party from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 15 at 3700 New Jersey Ave.