Golden Gate’s first community health center scheduled to welcome patients spring 2020

Today, Healthcare Network of Southwest Florida, a nonprofit organization working to ensure primary medical care is accessible to everyone in the community, held a topping-off ceremony for the construction of its Nichols Community Health Center in Golden Gate.

Celebrating the structural completion of the building, Manhattan Construction led the ceremonial raising of the final steel beam into the framework, a major construction milestone for the three-story, 50,000-square-foot primary care medical complex.

During the ceremony, Healthcare Network of Southwest Florida’s retiring CEO Mike Ellis expressed tremendous gratitude to the board, foundation, staff and community for making this medical complex possible. He also congratulated Dr. Emily Ptaszek, who will officially succeed Ellis as president and CEO on Aug. 19.

“With more than half of the Golden Gate population uninsured and living below the poverty line, access and affordability are barriers for thousands of Golden Gate residents,” Ptaszek said. “Healthcare Network of Southwest Florida is meeting this critical need for accessible, affordable, integrated and compassionate care by bringing the Nichols Community Health Center to the heart of the Golden Gate community.”

While located just a few miles from one of the wealthiest zip codes in America, Golden Gate has been identified as one of the most underserved communities in Collier County. Those living in Golden Gate have limited access to nearby comprehensive medical care. Of the 34,370 residents in Golden Gate, 19,222 (57.38%) are living below the poverty line and uninsured. These adults, many of whom work as service professionals, teachers, and small business owners, have no access to health insurance or can’t afford the premiums, high deductibles and copayments.

The new health center will provide the greater Golden Gate community with improved access to affordable, quality care, regardless of their economic status.

“We believe that every Collier County resident should have access to affordable, high-quality health care close to home,” Ptaszek said. “When our community is healthy, we all benefit.”

The complex has been named Nichols Community Health Center after a lead gift from Naples resident Jerry Nichols.

“I have focused my efforts and financial support on organizations that have an impact on children’s lives through education, access to health care and safe environments that help them grow and develop into their full potential,” Nichols said. “In Golden Gate, access to health care has been limited for so many. When children aren’t healthy, they’re not reaching their full potential, so I saw the Nichols Community Health Center as an opportunity to provide the people of Golden Gate access to better care, ensuring a better community for all.”

Healthcare Network of Southwest Florida broke ground on the Nichols Community Health Center in January 2019. Once complete, the new facility will offer an array of services including obstetrics and gynecology, and primary medical, dental and integrated behavioral health services for children and adults as well as a drive-thru pharmacy, basic lab and X-ray services.

Located at 12655 Collier Blvd. in Naples, the $15 million medical center is on schedule to welcome patients in spring 2020.

About Healthcare Network of Southwest Florida

The mission of Healthcare Network of Southwest Florida is to provide quality healthcare accessible to everyone in our community, regardless of ability to pay. Founded in 1977 to serve migrant farmworkers and their families in Immokalee, Healthcare Network now provides care to more than 51,000 residents through 21 practices including the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile® and the Health and Smiles Mobile. Healthcare Network provides primary healthcare services including internal medicine, family care, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, and senior care as well as dental care and integrated behavioral health for both adults and children. For more information, visit www.HealthcareSWFL.org, or to schedule an appointment, please call 239-658-3000.