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Recovery Act funds health center capital improvements

Tennessee Health Centers Receive More Than $16 million

Tennessee Department of HealthNASHVILLE – Tennessee will receive $16.7 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding for health center facility and equipment needs, which will increase access to health care for thousands of Tennesseans.

The announcement, made this week by First Lady Michelle Obama, detailed the release of a total of $851 million in grants. Two state-run health centers are among the grant recipients. The Upper Cumberland Primary Care Project will receive $1.4 million and Stewart County Community Medical Center was awarded $349,000.

“The Recovery Act grants for capital projects and equipment will enhance efficiency and services offered at these health centers in Tennessee,” said Governor Phil Bredesen. “This funding will increase access to care for many more families, allowing them to seek preventive and primary health care.”

The Upper Cumberland Primary Care Project will use the Recovery Act Capital Improvement Program (CIP) grant to assist in building two new health clinics, replacing the current outdated and inefficient clinic sites. The new design will enhance patient flow and greatly increase capacity. The grant will also be used to expand two health center locations to serve more patients and to purchase EKG machines and dental equipment.

“Through this funding the Upper Cumberland Primary Care Project expects to serve 4,800 more patients annually at its health clinics,” said Health Commissioner Susan R. Cooper, MSN, RN. “With unemployment in the region at more than 12 percent, these health services provide additional resources to a community struggling to contend with effects of the economic decline.”

Of patients currently being served in the Upper Cumberland area, which includes 14 of Tennessee’s most rural and geographically isolated counties, 54 percent are uninsured. Included are Cannon, Clay, Cumberland, DeKalb, Fentress, Jackson, Macon, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, Smith, Van Buren, Warren and White Counties.

“Local health departments will be able to fund renovations, construction and equipment upgrades with this grant.  All of these efforts will improve access to quality health care for Tennesseans.  Many of our rural health departments would not otherwise be able to afford these necessary upgrades,” said U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon, who represents counties served by the Upper Cumberland project.  “All rural communities deserve access to quality health care, and I am committed to securing the funds needed to make this happen.”

The grant to the Stewart County Medical Center will allow for the expansion of the facility to include an additional classroom, a new treatment room and a new roof. The classroom will be used for health promotion activities such as group sessions for diabetes patients to improve health outcomes. The expansion coupled with other internal restructuring will result in three additional clinic rooms, and a larger pharmacy.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the CIP grants will support the construction, repair and renovation of over 1,500 health center sites nationwide. More than 650 centers will use the funds to purchase new equipment or health information technology (HIT) systems, and nearly 400 health centers will adopt and expand the use of electronic health records.

An additional 21 Recovery Act CIP grants were awarded to recipients in Tennessee, including:

  • Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department, Chattanooga
  • Cherokee Health Systems, Talbott
  • Citizens of Lake County for Health, Tiptonville
  • Chota Community Health Services Inc., Vonore
  • Christ Community Health Services Inc., Memphis
  • Community Health of East Tennessee, Jacksboro
  • Dayspring Family Health Center Inc., Jellico
  • East Tennessee State University, Johnson City
  • Erlanger Medical Center, Chattanooga
  • Hardeman County Community Health Center, Bolivar
  • Hardin County Regional Health Center, Savannah
  • Matthew Walker Comprehensive, Nashville
  • Memphis Health Center, Memphis
  • Morgan County Health Council Inc., Wartburg
  • Mountain People’s Health Councils, Huntsville
  • Ocoee Regional Health Corp., Benton
  • Perry County Medical Center Inc., Linden
  • Rural Medical Services, Inc., Newport
  • Rural Health Services Consortium, Rogersville
  • University Community Health Services Inc., Nashville
  • United Neighborhood Health Services, Nashville

Health centers deliver preventive and primary care services at more than 7,500 service delivery sites around the country to patients regardless of their ability to pay; charges for services are set according to income. Health centers serve more than 17 million patients, about 40 percent of whom have no health insurance. Community Health Centers are the responsibility of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 will speed economic recovery, create and save jobs and provide needed services to Tennesseans. For more information, visit www.tnrecovery.gov, www.recovery.gov or the Department of Health’s Recovery Web page at http://health.state.tn.us/recovery/index.htm.

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