New Hudson UHPP facility will offer more services

HUDSON—On Giving Tuesday 2018 (November 27), Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood would seem to be doing well. The nonprofit is in the midst of a $7.2 million Capital Campaign, looking at a January 2019 occupancy of a new facility in Hudson and ready to give back to the community with expanded care and education.

Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood (UHPP), founded in 1984, provides health care and education for more than 13,000 people each year in rural and urban communities in Albany, Columbia, Greene and Rensselaer counties from offices in Albany, Troy and Greenport (soon to be Hudson).

UHPP serves more than 900 patients annually at its Greenport center. It is the only known provider of abortion services in Columbia and Greene counties, and for miles in the Berkshires.

The new Hudson Health Center is at 802 Columbia Street. There UHPP will have a 25-year lease on 4,261 square feet. The organization will leave 190 Fairview Avenue in Greenport, where it has leased 3,180 square feet for over 20 years.

UHPP had been looking for new space in Hudson “on and off for a number of years,” President and CEO Chelly Hegan said Tuesday. In 2010 UHPP’s Albany health center moved to its current location on Central Avenue, and the focus was on that project. Since that move, UHPP has provided health care to 35% more people in that center.

The agency is now looking to upgrade its Hudson and Troy facilities. The search for a new building in Hudson became more focused in the past three years, said Ms. Hegan, “because we knew we could raise the money for it.”

UHPP is using funds from the Health Care Transformation Grant from the state Department of Health for renovating 802 Columbia Street, adding cancer prevention and treatment equipment and moving in. Some funds still need to be raised for interior renovations and furniture, said Ms. Hegan.

The building had been warehouse space, she said, “so it was a gut renovation, ground up,” with work on plumbing, heating and electricity. Then the space was organized for a reception and waiting area, four patient rooms, an abortion recovery room, care coordination and counseling offices, and a shared teen space and community room.

The shared space will be used for UHPP meetings and public programs, and will be available for small, local nonprofits to host meetings and programs of their own.

Architecture+ in Troy designed the space and has managed the work. Ms. Hegan declined to discuss Hudson costs on Tuesday.

Overall, she said, UHPP’s budget is about $7 million a year, with 70 staff members agency-wide, about six in Hudson at any one time. Since Albany administrative staff oversee the other two facilities, dividing up the cost is difficult, she said, but “probably 50% is spent Albany, 30% in Troy and 20% in Hudson.”

She does anticipate that in Hudson “patient volume will increase, because the location is so easy to get to.”

The opening date has not been set. “Construction is what construction is,” Ms. Hegan noted. “The date is wobbly, but we plan on having a big opening celebration.”

In the meantime, the work continues. UHPP has launched The Campaign for Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood: A Place for Everyone, with the goal of raising $7.2 million to support sexual health care services and education in its four-county service area.

In 2017 UHPP set out to raise $5.5 million in this campaign. Finding that the services it provides—contraceptive care, abortion, STI testing and treatment, and transgender care—were under “unprecedented” attack, the agency decided to increase its goal to $7.2 million, to ensure access to these services in the region.

Of the $7.2 million, $5 million is designated for a Patient Access Fund and $2.2 million to improve the facilities in Troy and Hudson.

$4.2 million has already been raised from supporters of UHPP.

More than half of UHPP’s patients live below the federal poverty line. Throughout New York state, 57% of Planned Parenthood’s patients are covered by Medicaid. The Patient Access Fund is intended to ensure that whatever threats come—the withdrawal of grants or Medicaid coverage, for example—UHPP patients will get the care they need, regardless of their ability to pay.

Education and activism continue too. The second annual Rally in the Valley, a festival in support of UHPP, is Friday and Saturday, December 7 and 8 at Hudson Hall. Music on Friday and the after-party on Saturday have admission fees, but Saturday’s workshops are free, without registration. They include a community stitch-in with textile artist Chi Nguyen, a Birds and the Bees story slam and a Clergy for Choice panel. For a full schedule, go to rallyinthevalley.org.

Last year the festival raised over $18,000 in small donations and 400 pieces of donated artwork. This year the event has already raised $48,000 for UHPP.

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