The Board of Directors for Neighborhood Family Practice (NFP) and the Board of Directors for North Coast Health (NCH) today announced their plan to enter into a strategic affiliation to increase access to quality primary care for low-income individuals and families living in Lakewood and the surrounding community.

Both boards voted unanimously to approve a memorandum of understanding (MOU) and proceed with due diligence with the final vote expected in mid-to-late October.  The plan calls for the two organizations to consolidate operations under Neighborhood Family Practice. In addition, a support organization, North Coast Health, will be established for fund development and advocacy.  North Coast Health’s Lakewood location will be added to NFP’s network of five community health centers as the North Coast Community Health Center.

Jean Polster, president and CEO of NFP since 2003, will serve as CEO of both organizations.  Gina Gavlak, president and CEO of NCH will be president of the support organization and vice president of business development at NFP. Dr. Charles “Chuck” Garven, NCH’s medical director, will continue to see patients and serve as senior medical advisor at NFP. NCH employees will be integrated into the NFP team.

“The City of Lakewood has over 18,000 low income residents per federal health center data.  Many of these vulnerable residents need the expanded services our affiliation will provide,” said Jean Polster, NFP’s president and CEO.  “Working together we will leverage our combined resources to strengthen and enhance existing services while increasing our capacity to provide greater access to care.”

Both organizations share a common mission to provide high quality care regardless of ability to pay and a proud history of advocating for social justice while continuously improving clinical quality outcomes.

“As a result of strategic planning, we are pleased to announce this alliance,” shared Gina Gavlak, NCH President and CEO.  “Moving ahead together, as one organization, advances our mission of providing care to the most vulnerable and increases the ability to further reduce health care disparities on the west side of Cleveland.”

According to Jean Solomon, chair of the Board of Directors for NFP, the addition of the support organization will lead to an increase in fundraising while lending more voices to the advocacy efforts needed to ensure the most vulnerable populations have access to primary care.

“We conducted an extensive search for an opportunity like this.” John Griffiths, chair of the Board of Directors for NCH commented. “It became clear early on that NFP was our best fit in a partner. Our historical missions are nearly identical.  Together, we will accomplish much more than we would be able to do individually.”