Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey (VNACJ) Community Health Center, a Federally Qualified Health Center, appointed Kristine I. McCoy, MD, MPH as Executive Director this month. Dr. McCoy has also been appointed as Director of the Center for Primary Care and Public Health at its newly formed Children and Family Health Institute at VNA Health Group. Dr. McCoy is a Stanford/UCSF-trained physician and board certified in family medicine. She earned a Master’s in the Public Health at University of California, Los Angeles with a focus on population and family health.
Established in 1994, the VNACJ Community Health Center has worked to remove barriers to primary health care and preventive medicine for individuals and families who are uninsured or underinsured. Dr. McCoy’s appointment comes at a pivotal point in its 21-year history as demand for its services has increased through Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. Federally Qualified Health Centers provide a lower-cost and more comprehensive alternative to the ER for individuals and families who have Medicaid or who remain uninsured or underinsured.
In addition, the VNACJ Community Health Center has aligned itself with the newly-formed Children and Family Health Institute at Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) Health Group in order to better connect patients to supplemental programs and services that VNA Health Group provides. As the new Director of the Center for Primary Care and Public Health, Dr. McCoy will oversee programs such as Nurse-Family Partnership, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), Healthy Families, Mobile Outreach, School-Based Nurse Practitioners, Cancer Education and Early Detection (CEED) and HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment as well as the Community Health Center.
“The VNACJ Community Health Center is moving towards providing a full-scope of health care services to patients who might not otherwise be able to access specialists for certain conditions. I am looking forward to working with the Center’s staff and VNA Health Group to continue to expand our services and to be sure that not one person in our community feels like their insurance status or financial circumstance precludes them from getting the health care they need,” said Kristine McCoy, MD, MPH.
The VNACJ Community Health Center first opened in a church basement in Asbury Park to provide primary health care to area residents who were not insured, and has since expanded to four locations throughout Monmouth County. In 2001, it added HIV primary care and early intervention services and in 2003, became a Federally Qualified Health Center, a distinction that offers enhanced reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid. The Center also added prenatal, behavioral health and nutrition counseling in 2005 and dental services in 2011.
“Dr. McCoy has extensive experience in delivering patient-centered care particularly in underserved communities and it was precisely this expertise we sought to help lead the Center as it expands further to meet the evolving needs of our patients and changes resulting from national health care reform,” said Heather Schulze, President of the VNACJ Community Health Center Board of Trustees.
VNA Health Group established the Children and Family Health Institute last year to strategically unify its services and create a seamless experience for parents and clinicians. Many of the programs and services now under the Children and Family Health Institute are supported by public and private grants as well as VNA Health Group’s 2020 Vision Campaign.
“The VNACJ Community Health Center has worked to bring primary care out of ERs and into a supportive environment where clinicians have become partners with patients and with other providers. By leading both the VNACJ Community Health Center and the Center for Primary Care and Public Health, Dr. McCoy will work to enhance the way we collaborate across the organizations to connect patients to all the programs and services we provide with the aim of improving the health and well-being of our most vulnerable citizens,” said Steven Landers, MD, MPH, President and CEO of VNA Health Group.
Dr. McCoy previously was Residency Director at the Hilo Medical Center’s Hawaii Island Family Medicine Residency where she developed and led education programs that trained primary care clinicians in medicine, nursing, clinical pharmacy and health psychology. She also expanded the clinic to include pediatric specialists. Prior to that, Dr. McCoy was Associate Medical Director at El Centro Family Health and oversaw 11 Federally Qualified Health Centers in Northern New Mexico.