Urban Health Plan (UHP) is a system of community health centers throughout the Bronx, in Corona Queens and in Central Harlem that is committed to caring for those most vulnerable. It provides comprehensive and affordable primary and specialty health care service. Its facilities include twelve community health centers, a mental health facility, twelve school health programs, four part-time facilities, six administrative/program sites.
Urban Health Plan was founded in 1974 as the brainchild of the late Dr. Richard Izquierdo, a life-long resident of the South Bronx and a pediatrician/family practitioner. From the start, its mission was to provide basic and specialty medical care—comparable to those found in local hospital outpatient clinics—to the community’s predominantly Hispanic and medically underserved residents.
Due to the lack of primary care services in the area, many residents had grown accustomed to waiting out long lines in local hospital emergency rooms for routine medical care or for the treatment of acute medical conditions that could have been prevented if diagnosed earlier. In 1962 Dr. Izquierdo opened his first practice on Southern Boulevard in the Bronx, two blocks from where he grew up. From the moment he opened, Dr. Izquierdo dedicated himself to ensuring that his community received quality, equitable care.
Concerned by his community’s declining health status, and unable to meet the demand for primary medical service in his own burgeoning private practice, Dr. Izquierdo sought to expand the practice into an HMO-style health center that offered care in a consistent, cost effective, and managed manner.
In 1967 he purchased an abandoned building on Southern Boulevard and Westchester Avenue to create the San Juan Health Center. This center operated until 1974, when it became Urban Health Plan. UHP is a private, non-profit corporation licensed by the Department of Health. It was established to broaden the scope of the work started by the San Juan Health Center.The organization is a federally qualified community health center licensed as a diagnostic and treatment center under Article 28 of the New York State Public Health Law and Article 31 of the New York State Office of Mental Health and accredited by the Joint Commission.
UHP is designated a NYS Preferred Primary Care Provider, Prenatal Care Assistance Provider, an HIV Primary Care Provider, and a WIC provider. Over the years, it has formed alliances with several community-based organizations to provide health care services in alternate delivery sites. These sites consist of local schools, an adult day treatment program, a Boys and Girls Club, and homeless shelters. It is affiliated with Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center, Lincoln Medical & Mental Health Center, Montefiore Medical Center, Elmhurst Hospital Center, Long Island Jewish Forest Hills, and Mount Sinai Health System.
UHP has been actively involved with the United States Department of Health and Human Services and the Bureau of Primary Health Care Health Care Disparities Collaboratives. It has received national recognition for its performance improvement work. Its work with the asthmatic population in the South Bronx has greatly contributed to the reduction of pediatric hospitalizations related to asthma as reported by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The Joint Commission highlighted UHP as a “Spotlight on Success” for this work.