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Newtown's Community Health Clinic Closing, Pivoting To Outreach Programs



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Kevin’s Community Center (KCC), the free and low-cost public health clinic that has served thousands of area residents, is closing its physical location, though its work will continue to support the community in other ways.

KCC had acquired its own building in 2017, after a long, nomadic existence.

The public health initiative was founded in 2002 by Newtown residents Dr. Z. Michael Taweh and his wife, Jocelyne, and named in memory of their son, Kevin, who died at age 3 in a household accident.

In a brief letter to patients that was received by The Newtown Bee August 19, Clinic Director Mary Nielson, DNP, APRN-BC, explained that public health support formerly provided at one of its several bases over the years will now revert to a medical outreach program.

“Kevin’s Community Center Medical Outreach Program has officially launched,” Nielson wrote in the letter. “This program will replace the traditional in-office primary care services that were the cornerstone of the KCC mission for the past 18 years.”

“We will no longer be seeing patients but will assist you with finding the right care for your needs,” the letter continued. “The free medical clinic portion will close on September 16 at 5 pm.”

Dr Taweh told The Newtown Bee, “Although we will not be seeing patients for primary care services, the new medical outreach program will encompass many educational and community programs, in addition to referrals to medical services and specialty care to a network of providers in our community.”

The local physician said that in its new iteration, KCC will maintain a location in his Danbury office, “in a space donated by me, and our existing patients will be transitioned to other free medical facilities in the greater Danbury area, including my office.”

Patients may contact the clinic now for help finding alternate providers by calling 203-426-0496, or they may utilize free medical clinics being operated by Americares at 76 West Street in Danbury, or the Saint Vincent’s De Paul Society at 114 Benedict Street in Waterbury.

First Selectman Dan Rosenthal responded to the news saying, “I am sad to hear about the impending closure of Kevin’s Community Center clinic services. After a heartbreaking tragedy, Dr Taweh and his family built a wonderful organization that has brought love and care to so many and inspired a team of volunteers. I am sure the decision to transition into an outreach model was not an easy one — but I expect KCC will continue to serve others with great success.”

Health District Director Donna Culbert has been involved with KCC since its development stage, and was also upset to hear of the clinic facility closing.

“Like the ending of so many things in our lives, it is bittersweet to learn of KCC’s closing of clinical services,” Culbert said. “KCC has served many residents with exceptional care over these 18 years and Newtown has truly become a healthier community because of them.”

The local health official said she has watched KCC evolve and grow over the years from its opening and earliest days in shared offices at the former Canaan House at Fairfield Hills, which eventually relocated along with the Health District to 31 Pecks Lane.

“They then moved to their South Main Street location before landing at Commerce Road — always elevating the ‘care’ in their health care delivery,” Culbert added. “We can look forward to their medical outreach program, as I am sure it will be as exemplary as all of their endeavors.”

Anyone seeking to pick up medical records may do so until September 16; patients must call 203-426-0496 in advance to make arrangements.

Kevin’s Community Center Co-Founder and local Physician Z. Michael Taweh, left, is pictured in this 2017 file photo with long-time supporter, former board member, and former executive director Michael Ronan, and Clinic Director Mary Nielson shortly before the grand opening of the public health clinic’s new home on Commerce Road. A letter to patients dated August 12 announced that the clinic was closing its Newtown office and that KCC would continue as a public health outreach initiative.
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