The Riggs Community Health Center is celebrating the opening of its new Lafayette location. The non-profit was given the former Woman’s Clinic building last year and completely remodeled the facility. Officials held a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday.
Eleanor Riggs, the wife of clinic founder Dr. Wendell Riggs, says the expansion of the service is a dream come true.
"He believed in quality healthcare for the poor, because they don't get as quality care as other people who have insurance," she says. "He started the clinic with 240 patients and two people, and just think how it is now."
The Riggs Center now serves 12,000 patients with a staff of 153. There are plans to hire more.
The current facility on Hartford Street will undergo remodeling and house the new family medicine and expanded dental departments, among other things.
The South Street location adds 28 more patient care rooms and includes a lab, prenatal and women’s health services, and adult medicine.
Steven Riggs, the son of Wendell and Eleanor, says the operation has grown because of the need to care for the uninsured and under-insured.
"This is a community effort," he says. "My dad, while he had the vision, could not have done this without - literally - dozens, if not hundreds of other people who shared the passion and commitment to create a center of this nature in our community."
North Central Health Services donated the former Woman’s Clinic building to Riggs last year. Remodeling and equipping the facility and the current Riggs Center on Hartford Street will cost nearly $5 million. Most of the funding comes from a $3.55 million federal grant.
Riggs President and CEO Veronique LeBlanc says the new location nearly doubles their space to care for those without insurance and the under-insured.
"I've taken the time to greet patients as they arrive first thing in the morning and they're just amazed at the space and what it looks like. They're very pleased with the Center being able to extend care to additional folks who need this type of care in our community, because they have family and friends who can't get into Riggs. Now, we're happy to be able to do so."
The public is invited to tour the new Riggs Community Health Center on South Street in Lafayette. An open house is set for Tuesday, December 11th from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.