The Board of Directors at United Way of Story County (UWSC) recently approved a grant request to assist Primary Health Care, Inc. (PHC) in bringing a federally qualified health center clinic to Story County. The grant, which was awarded for $100,000, will be used to establish a community health center to serve Story County residents who are uninsured, underinsured, and/or underserved.
The clinic, operated by PHC, will increase access to a spectrum of primary care services (family practice, pediatrics, OB, mental health, oral medicine, pharmacy, lab and x-ray). PHC, along with various community partners, will help patients address some of the most common barriers to care by providing services including transportation, interpretation, translation, patient education, and other supportive services. PHC will employ a combined total of 20.5 full-time equivalent employees, including physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, a family support worker, benefits specialist and behavioral health consultant, as well as support staff to manage and assure the delivery of affordable, quality health care.
In addition to HRSA and UWSC, financial commitments have been made from First National Bank, MGMC, McFarland Clinic and Story County Community Foundation. Approximately $290,000 funds are still needed to cover the costs associated with constructing and equipping the $667,500 project. Operational expenses aren’t included in the cost of the project as they will be covered by the HRSA grant ($650,000) and patient collections.
The location of the clinic is yet to be determined, but at least one service will be up and running in January 2014.
“UWSC partners with many local entities to develop and provide programs that address unmet needs in Story County, especially in the areas of education, income and health,” said UWSC President and CEO Jean Kresse. “Through these partnerships, we have learned that, even though we have local medical services, many uninsured and underinsured individuals and families don’t have adequate access to primary care, dental and mental health services. United Way of Story County is proud to be able to make a significant investment to establish the Federally Qualified Health Center in Story County. In turn, I thank the community for investing in United Way.”
Discussions for the program began in 2008 when Mary Greeley Medical Center (MGMC) received a planning grant to investigate the feasibility of bringing a federally qualified health center (FQHC) to Story County. The Planning Committee agreed to pursue the FQHC in Story County and asked PHC to operate the site. As a result, PHC submitted an initial grant request to Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) in 2010, which was not funded. In April 2013, the application was resubmitted, and funding was approved in September 2013.
Funding was possible because of the needs identified in Story County: Story County has an 18.7 percent rate of poverty compared to 11.5 percent in the state of Iowa; more than 23,000 residents in Story County have incomes below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level; Story County has a low income Health Provider Shortage Area designation for primary health care (not enough providers to care for the low income population in Story County).
UWSC is a strategic leader in building countywide partnerships to identify needs and to develop, support and evaluate effective human services, especially in the areas of education, income and health, for our diverse community.