Neighborhood Health Centers of the Lehigh Valley of Allentown, Pa. was officially incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 2004 by a group of concerned community residents. Their goal was to meet the need for a coordinated system of primary care for the uninsured and/or underinsured residents in the Lehigh Valley.
After obtaining designation as a Federally Qualified Health Center-Look-Alike in September 2010, NHCLV submitted a New Access Point application in November 2010 and was awarded grant funding in 2012. NHCLV currently operates primary care sites in downtown Allentown, Southside Bethlehem, and Easton’s West Ward. It is the first Federally Qualified Health Center in the Lehigh Valley.
An estimated 37,770 persons reside in NHCLV’s service area, of which 70.4% (26,583) are below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level, including 15,390 persons whose income level falls below 100% of the FPL. The racial make-up of the service area is 59.3% Hispanic or Latino, 48.8% White, 21.2% Black/African-American, and the remaining 1.6% is Asian, multi-racial, or other. The service area population that is uninsured numbers 7,752 persons, all of whom are part of NHCLV’s target population.
The target population confronts obstacles to obtaining routine and preventive primary care services due to linguistic and transportation barriers and extreme poverty.
Health disparities in the service area include high infant mortality rates, low birth weight, teen pregnancies, heart disease, cancer, suicide, and diabetes.