By Richard Asinof
PAWTUCKET – Blackstone Valley Community Health Center held its ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new health facility at 39 East Ave. on Monday.
The new three-story, $6.7 million facility, which features 33 exam rooms as well as an integrated behavioral health component, opened “on time and slightly under budget,” Raymond J. Lavoie, executive director of the health center, told more than 150 people who gathered for the ceremony.
Blackstone’s capability to provide high-quality medical care with lower costs to its patients was praised by a host of public officials, including Sen. Jack Reed, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Rep. David Cicilline, Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee, Lt. Gov. Elizabeth H. Roberts and Pawtucket Mayor Donald R. Grebien.
Reed praised Blackstone as a national model of “accessible, affordable, comprehensive high quality health care.”
On this day, Whitehouse said, the patients, the community and the health care workers are “all shining with smiles.”
Cicilline called Blackstone “a great example of how can deliver health care the right way,”
Chafee linked the good news of the new center’s opening with the good news of Rhode Island’s economy, citing the fact that five economic indicators for the state were the best since 2006.
Roberts also praised the health care services delivery model used by Blackstone, saying: “This is how you change the health of a community.”
Grebien called it a “major financial investment” in downtown Pawtucket.
Also speaking were Jane Hayward, president and CEO of the R.I. Health Center Association, Clark Phillips, chief financial officer at Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island, Dr. Jerry Fingerut, medical director at Blackstone, and Dr. Pablo Rodriguez, CEO of Women’s Care.