Henry J. Austin Health Center Plays Key Role in Trenton COVID-19 Testing and Response

The federally qualified health center provides access to receiving a COVID-19 test prescription to residents in Trenton without a primary care physician or who do not have insurance.

TRENTON, NJ – Henry J. Austin Health Center’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Kemi Alli, thanked the health center staff for answering more calls, scheduling more appointments and providing Trenton residents without health insurance or a primary care physician access to testing and treatment for COVID-19.

“I’m so grateful to our team for stepping up to meet this unprecedented demand for information, advice and reassurance,” Dr. Alli said. “We are proud to serve the Trenton community and will continue doing all we can to help our patients during this stressful time.”

As a federally qualified healthcare center, Henry J. Austin Health Center (HJAHC) provides patient-centered quality primary care, mental health, substance abuse treatment services, and more, but now the health center’s role has expanded exponentially due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In April, Mercer County began providing free COVID-19 testing for county residents 18 and older at sites in Trenton and, more recently, Hamilton—but tests are by appointment only, and require a doctor’s prescription.

HJAHC is the only local healthcare provider offering telehealth evaluations, prescriptions for COVID-19 test and follow-up appointments for residents with no health insurance or primary doctor. Without HJAHC, many Trenton residents would not have access to testing or treatment.

“HJAHC’s call center and telehealth system responded in record time to provide access to COVID-19 testing for Trenton residents without a primary doctor,” said Gregory Paulson, Executive Director of Trenton Health Team, who helped establish the county’s test sites. “That hard work has made a real difference for families in our community. We are proud to partner with HJAHC to confront this pandemic, as well as other local health issues.”

HJAHC staff engage with an average 264 patients daily—a 15% increase above pre-pandemic levels, even with dental procedures postponed due to coronavirus infection risk. The average caseload for behavioral health staff is 157 daily, up 30% from before the pandemic. To meet the unprecedented and unexpected demand for services, HJAHC staff:

  • Reorganized the call center workload to minimize time on hold, resulting in response rates exceeding national standards, with less than 3% of callers hanging up before speaking with a staffer
  • Launched telemedicine capacity and improved access so patients can get same-day appointments from within the safety of their homes–even after hours and on weekends
  • Expanded services to any Trenton resident regardless of payment source or primary care physician during these difficult times

HJAHC serves as an advisor to the state of New Jersey, Mercer County and the City of Trenton regarding community and government response to the coronavirus pandemic. The health center also reaches out to under-resourced communities across the city, providing flyers, participating in online town hall discussions and hosting Facebook Live question-and-answer sessions in both English and Spanish, with Trenton Health Team.

Henry J. Austin Health Center’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Rachael Evans, applauded these efforts while noting more work lies ahead. “COVID-19 has been a challenge for everyone – and I am proud of our staff for going above and beyond to meet the needs of our community,” Dr. Evans said. “Trenton residents can be confident that we will continue doing all we can, as best we can, to meet your healthcare needs now and in the future.”

To find the most up to date information on COVID-19 and testing in Trenton please visit the Trenton Health Team’s webpage at, www.trentonhealthteam.org/tht-shares-food-pantry-covid-19-updates. If you have questions or would like more information about how to make a telemedicine appointment please contact, media and communications specialist, Jen Yaeger, at jennifer.yaeger@henryjaustin.org or visit www.henryjaustin.org

About the Henry J. Austin Health Center

Henry J. Austin Health Center, Inc. is located in Trenton, NJ. Established in 1969 as Trenton’s Neighborhood Health Center, Henry J. Austin Health Center was incorporated in 1986 as a private, non-profit 501(c)(3) entity. The mission of Henry J. Austin Health Center is to provide patient-centered, comprehensive, accessible, efficient, quality primary care, mental health and substance abuse treatment services to the culturally diverse greater Trenton community. Our exceptional dedicated, well trained team delivers best practice healthcare, working with community partners to provide extraordinary customer service and quality outcomes. Our vision is to improve the quality of life through superior health care outcomes for the greater Trenton community as their medical home of choice. For more information, visit www.henryjaustin.org.

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