Henry J. Austin Health Center, Inc. (HJAHC) is located in Trenton, New Jersey. Established in 1969 as Trenton's Neighborhood Health Center, HJAHC was incorporated in 1986 as a private, non-profit 501(c) (3) entity. The mission of Henry J. Austin Health Center is to provide quality, community-based, affordable, accessible primary health care services in a culturally sensitive manner with respect and dignity. Increasing access and decreasing barriers to quality care are the mainstays of HJAHC.
HJAHC is named after Dr. Henry J. Austin, an African-American, Princeton resident, who came to Trenton to practice medicine since Jim Crow laws prohibited this in his own home town. Austin was born on February 23, 1888 in Tallahassee, Florida and was brought to Princeton as a young boy. He attended Howard University Medical School and graduated in 1918 and completed his internship at Freeman’s Hospital (now Howard University Hospital) in Washington, D.C. Some historians credit Dr. Austin with helping to integrate Trenton schools.
Henry J. Austin Health Center is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC). FQHC is a federal designation from the Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC) and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that is assigned to private non-profit or public health care organizations that serve predominantly uninsured or medically underserved populations. FQHCs are located in or serving a federally designated Medically Underserved Area/Population.
HJAHC is the largest non-hospital based ambulatory care provider in the city. Primary health care services include: adult medicine, gynecology, pediatrics, HIV treatment, dental care, podiatry, and ophthalmology. Additional services are nutrition, social service, substance abuse assessment and intervention, behavioral health, translation services, transportation, and an onsite pharmacy. Most forms of health insurance including Medicare and Medicaid are accepted and there is a sliding fee scale for the uninsured. Henry J. Austin Health Center provides care to approximately 13,000 individuals annually generating more than 50,000 visits from four locations.
Henry J. Austin Health Center is also a FTCA Deemed Facility. Under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), once deemed, centers that have followed the guidelines and requirements of the FTCA may not be liable for any settlements or judgments that are made. The Federal government assumes responsibility for these costs. Under these circumstances, deemed health center program grantees may be immune from medical malpractice lawsuits resulting from the performance of medical, surgical, dental, or related functions within the approved scope of project.
A patient who alleges acts of medical malpractice by a deemed health center cannot sue the center or the provider directly, but must file the claim against the United States Government.