Information for New Patients
What is a Health Center?
Health centers are places where anyone can receive primary care even if they cannot afford to pay the full charge. This health center is also known as a FQHC – a Federally Qualified Health Center. This means that we are required to offer certain basic medical, dental, and mental health services to the residents of Norwalk in return for grant dollars from the federal and state governments. The health center must also comply with many federal and state standards designed to help ensure quality and access for all patients, without discrimination.
To become a patient with NCHC please download and fill-out this form.
What is Primary Care?
There are four medical specialties that represent primary care.
- Family Medicine
The Family doctor or Nurse Practitioner care for all stages of the life cycle, from birth to death. They are comfortable caring for newborns, young children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly. They can perform physical exams, provide well-child care, take care of acute illness, and manage chronic diseases like emphysema, high blood pressure, or diabetes.
- Internal Medicine
Doctors, nurse practitioners, and residents specialize in the care of the adult population including the elderly and the frail elderly. They are experienced and knowledgable in working with patients who may require multiple medications and often have many, or more complex medical problems. They can also provide physical exams, follow up visits for chronic medical conditions, and care for acute illness. Usually, internal medicine practitioners do not see patients under the age of 18.
pediatricians are trained to take care of babies and children up to the age of 18. They are especially good at making sure that infants and children get all the proper immunizations at the right time; that babies are developing normally in terms of growth, speech, behavior, and social skills; that anxious parents get the information they need to feel comfortable taking care of their children; and pediatric doctors are very good at working with adolescents about dating, sexuality, substance abuse, and other risky behaviors.
- Womens' Health
This is the department for women! If you are pregnant, need a PAP smear, a breast examination, have a urinary tract infection, or other female issue – this is your department. At NCHC our clinical staff can care for you while you are pregnant, deliver your baby at Norwalk Hospital, and help you connect with our pediatricians after the baby is born.
Is the health center free?
The health center is not free. All patients are expected to pay something, unless covered by insurance. How much you will pay depends on your proven income and assets. NCHC has two full-time eligibility workers who will work with you to determine how much of a discount you will get at the center when you receive care.
How do I become a patient?
All new patients must register at the health center and meet with our eligibility staff before seeing a health care practitioner, unless already covered by verifiable insurance. Our staff will help you make an appointment with the eligibility department, and will explain what documents you must bring at that time. Once you have had that visit you will be able to make an appointment.
To make an appointment please call NCHC at 203-899-1770
What is a resident?
Residents are doctors who have completed medical school and have their medical degree, and who are now training in a particular specialty. At NCHC we collaborate with Norwalk Hospital in bringing an Internal Medicine Residency Program to the health center in addition to our own employed staff physicians and Nurse Practitioners. The Residents will focus exclusively on adult medicine for their three years of training at the health center; at the completion of this advanced training they become board eligible internists who can see patients anywhere in the United States. All residents work under the supervision of full-time physician faculty as well as the Chief Medical Officer of Norwalk Community Health Center.
Do you have a pharmacy?
NCHC has a fully stocked pharmacy on site, directly adjacent to the adult medicine department.
What if my condition requires specialty care?
NCHC has some specialty care on site. For patients with diabetes or other endocrine problems, we offer an endocrine clinic every Tuesday and Thursday morning. For patients who are HIV+ or Living with AIDs, we offer an Infectious Disease Clinic every other Wednesday morning as well as ongoing primary care with our Adult Nurse Practitioner who focuses exclusively on serving this population. Other specialty services are available by referral to the specialty clinics at Norwalk Hospital or Yale.
How do I submit a concern or comment?
If you have any comments or concerns about your care or safety at Norwalk Community Health Center, please contact us at 203-899-1770. If you are not satisfied with any aspect of your care, you can contact our chief operating officer, Maria Escalera (203) 899-1770 ext. 1004) or you can speak directly with any supervisor or administrator.