Detroit Health Centers plan expansions

An article featuring metro Detroit’s Community Health Centers from Crain’s Detroit Business

Detroit’s five federally qualified health centers are expecting to receive more than $3 million in federal stimulus dollars in early July to fund much-needed capital expansion projects to accommodate a growing number of uninsured patients.

“The whole purpose of this is to see more patients and reduce waiting times,” said Wayne Bradley, executive director of Detroit Community Health Connections, a federally qualified health center. “We hope to have the work done before summer is over.”

Detroit Community is expecting to receive $897,000 from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration to renovate and expand two of its five sites, Bradley said.

Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, federally qualified health centers are scheduled to receive $2 billion in 2009 and 2010. Michigan’s 129 health center sites have already received about $10 million this year.

Some $500 million will be used to support new health center sites and expand services at existing sites. The additional $1.5 billion will be used to support construction, renovation and equipment, including electronic medical record systems.

“Every single health center in Detroit has developed a plan to expand their facilities (with the stimulus dollars). There are a lot of unmet needs,” said Paul Propson, executive director of Covenant Community Care in Detroit.

As the newest federally qualified health center in Detroit, Covenant Community, which opened in 2007, has applied for $315,000 to expand its two sites, Propson said.

“As care has increased, we need the space,” Propson said. “We take care of 2,500 patients each year and are adding 100 new patients per month. The expansion will help us take care of another 1,000 patients this year.”

Kim Sibilsky, executive director with the Michigan Primary Care Association, said she also expects community groups and federally qualified health centers to seek grants later this year to expand the number of clinic sites. MPCA represents community health centers.

“We expect there will be applications for new FQHCs and to add new sites in Detroit,” Sibilsky said. “There is a lot of competition nationally, but everyone knows Detroit and Wayne County have great needs and are underserved.”

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