Thursday, August 30, 2018 - START Federally Qualified Health Center

Trudy Franks LCSW, FQHC Program Director
START Community Health Center
985-333-2020 |
  Melissa Hodgson ABC APR, Dir. of Communication
St. Tammany Parish Hospital


START Federally Qualified Health Center
to Assume Community Wellness Role in Covington
Nonprofit and Hospital announce increased access to services


COVINGTON – Today, START announced plans to open a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) at 1505 N. Florida Street in Covington, which for 20 years has housed the STPH Community Wellness Center (CWC).

“We are excited to extend our mission into west St. Tammany,” Casey Guidry LCSW, executive director of START, said. “Our organization has an established history of providing health services to individuals in need, and we believe this center will elevate care for this population.”

The START FQHC will continue to provide the services formerly available through CWC with the same familiar staff, plus increase services and enhance programs to provide affordable health services with a special focus on low-income, uninsured and under-insured individuals.

New services available in the FQHC will include primary care, psychiatric care, substance abuse services, behavioral health counseling and assessment. The center will continue to provide the following services formerly provided by CWC: WIC (Women, Infants and Children Food Supplement Program), immunizations, Medicaid applications and pregnancy testing.

“We welcome START into our community as the next improvement in community wellness for our patients,” Kerry Milton RN BSN MHA, chief nursing officer of STPH, said. “Our collaboration with St. Tammany Parish government for the past 20 years has been an excellent solution to the loss of a public health unit in 2000, but now patients will have improved access to healthcare resources as START launches this FQHC in its place.”

CWC will transition to the START Corporation, Sept. 1. Clients already relying on services of the CWC will see no loss or reduction in services, and the START team intends to launch all new services beginning Sept. 1.



ABOUT the START Corporation: A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1984, START believes in recovery, quality of life, respect and personal choice for our clients and for everyone. Start provides supportive housing, case management, social skills training, residential services, a clubhouse, and a Peer to Peer program for persons with low incomes and/or behavioral, physical or developmental challenges and disabilities. Start received 3 Year CARF Accreditation for Case Management/Services Coordination, Community Housing, and Community Integration. Start Community Health Center received level 3 accreditation for Patient Centered Medical Home in September of 2017. Learn more at

ABOUT STPH: A full-service acute care facility committed to providing world-class healthcare and the latest technology, St. Tammany Parish Hospital delivers today’s life-improving procedures with the utmost care to area residents with emphasis on wellness, preventive care and disease management close to home. STPH is recognized for quality, safety and the patient experience by Leapfrog, Hospital Compare, Healthgrades, CareChex and Women’s Choice. STPH is a self-supporting not-for-profit community hospital; it receives no ad valorem tax funding. STPH is in a long-term strategic partnership with Ochsner Health System. Learn more at