Favorite

Recovery room 

Health clinics get word of new federal funds atop state OK.

Three Community Health Centers in Arkansas have had a run of good luck in the past several weeks. First, the state legislature enacted a tax hike on cigarettes and smokeless tobacco to provide $25 million over the next two fiscal years to the state's 12 CHC non-profits for infrastructure, equipment and personnel needs. Each of the 12 centers, which operate 47 clinics, will get a grant of $250,000 for capital improvements and will be eligible for operational grants from the state Department of Health. The grants will be the first across-the-board state support of the clinics, which operate with federal funds to provide health care in areas of the state with few doctors and a large number of uninsured residents.

Last week, the federal government announced that St. Francis House NWA Inc., the East Arkansas Family Health Center and White River Rural Health Center Inc. will receive a total of $3.3 million in Recovery Act funds — the Obama stimulus package — to open clinics in Siloam Springs, England and Blytheville.

The awards were made to clinics who'd applied for grants last year but were denied when federal Health Resources and Services Administration funds ran out.

Kathy Grisham, director of the St. Francis CHC, which won a $1.3 million grant ($650,000 for each of two years), said funding requires that the CHC begin seeing patients within 120 days. St. Francis will begin advertising immediately for clinical and support staff for the Siloam Springs clinic, which will expand a smaller clinic already in place and triple its staff. Grisham expects the clinic will serve 4,500 patients within two years.

St. Francis, with clinics in Rogers and Springdale, saw 14,527 patients in 2008; only 3 percent had health insurance. “There are 80,000 people without health insurance in Northwest Arkansas,” Grisham said. “That's who we're trying to reach.” St. Francis will use state support to try to pay market rates to staff, some of whom haven't had a raiase in five years, Grisham said.

Dr. Steve Collier, a physician who heads the White River center, said the nearly $1.3 million in Recovery Act dollars awarded that CHC will create a clinic in England next to the county-funded England Wellness Center. The White River CHC is the state's largest, with 19 satellites in 11 counties. White River will use its state funding to add new clinics in south Jonesboro and Batesville. “At White River, our deal is for growth and expansion of services and access points.”

The East Arkansas Family Health Center will use its $739,294 Recovery Act funding to open a clinic in a medical facility on the old Blytheville airbase. The clinic will have six exam rooms and three dental operatories, director Dr. Susan Ward Jones said. “It's a bit isolated, but we feel we can capture the retired and uninsured,” she said.

Jones, who grew up in Helena, moved to the West Memphis CHC to pay off her medical school loans and never left. That's uncommon for medical professionals, with Memphis and higher wages so close; she said the CHC will use its state funds to recruit and help keep the providers it now employs. She needs to hire a staff of 10 for the new clinic. As all of the rural clinics find, “that's going to be the difficult part,” she said.

St. Francis' Grisham is the new head of a compliance committee for the board of the Community Health Centers of Arkansas, which provides training to the clinical non-profits. The committee was created after one of the centers, the Lee County Cooperative Clinic, was nearly closed by HRSA because of irregularities in spending. The board of that clinic is now the subject of two lawsuits alleging Freedom of Information Act violations and voting irregularities; the clinic is operating with a one-year grant.

What happened with the Lee County clinic “puts us all under scrutiny,” Grisham said. The committee will require better oversight over center operations and communication from the federal funding agency.

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Leslie Newell Peacock

  • Sewer plant request off City Board agenda

    The City Board of Directors will not take up at tomorrow's board meeting developer Rick Ferguson's request that the city overrule the Planning Commission's decision denying him a Conditional Use Permit to build a wastewater treatment plant on his property at 25616 Hwy. 10, opponents of Ferguson's plan tell the Times.
    • Dec 5, 2016
  • Arkansas Times Recommends: A Gift Guide

    Arkansas Times Recommends is a series in which Times staff members (or whoever happens to be around at the time) highlight things we've been enjoying this week. This week, a gift guide.
    • Dec 2, 2016
  • Advocates for the disabled object to Capitol gates

    Disability Rights Arkansas Inc. (DRA) and Arkansas State Independent Living Council (ARSILC) have issued a statement objecting to the new gates that will block entrance to the state Capitol grounds on the weekends.
    • Dec 2, 2016
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Kanis development decried

    Fletcher Hollow wrong place for density, neighbors tell LR planners.
    • Oct 8, 2015
  • Eligible voters removed from rolls

    Arkansas Times reporters contacted election officials around the state to see how they had handled flawed felon data from the secretary of state. Responses varied dramatically.
    • Aug 11, 2016
  • Real Republicans don't do pre-K

    Also, drifting away from trump, Hudson's downfall at ASU and more.
    • Aug 11, 2016

Most Shared

  • Department of Arkansas Heritage archeologist resigns

    Bob Scoggin, 50, the Department of Arkansas Heritage archeologist whose job it was to review the work of agencies, including DAH and the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, for possible impacts on historic properties, resigned from the agency on Monday. Multiple sources say Scoggin, whom they describe as an "exemplary" employee who the week before had completed an archeological project on DAH property, was told he would be fired if he did not resign.
  • Labor department director inappropriately expensed out-of-state trips, audit finds

    Jones was "Minority Outreach Coordinator" for Hutchinson's 2014 gubernatorial campaign. The governor first named him as policy director before placing him over the labor department instead in Jan. 2015, soon after taking office.
  • Lawsuit filed against ADC officials, prison chaplain convicted of sexual assault at McPherson

    A former inmate who claims she was sexually assaulted over 70 times by former McPherson Womens' Unit chaplain Kenneth Dewitt has filed a federal lawsuit against Dewitt, several staff members at the prison, and officials with the Arkansas Department of Corrections, including former director Ray Hobbs.
  • Rapert compares Bill Clinton to Orval Faubus

    Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway)  was on "Capitol View" on KARK, Channel 4, this morning, and among other things that will likely inspire you to yell at your computer screen, he said he expects someone in the legislature to file a bill to do ... something about changing the name of the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport.

Latest in Arkansas Reporter

Visit Arkansas

Arkansas remembers Pearl Harbor

Arkansas remembers Pearl Harbor

Central Arkansas venues have a full week of commemorative events planned

Event Calendar

« »

December

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Learning to love North Little Rock in Park Hill

    • My father in law built this house from WW2 materials he bought cheap. The walls…

    • on December 5, 2016
  • Re: A killing in Pocahontas

    • my name is kimberly some parts are true some are not travis was a victum…

    • on December 4, 2016
  • Re: Vive la resistance!

    • We are not asking you to place a stent in the Democrats Heart nor to…

    • on December 4, 2016
 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation