Center for Family Health Looks Ahead to Plan for Future Needs in Jackson County

… from mlive.com courtesey of the Jackson Citizen Patriot

The Center for Healthy Beginnings opened in 1991 to address the county’s high rate of infant mortality by serving low-income, expectant mothers. A collaborative effort spearheaded by the Community Action Agency, the center had 13 staff members who saw 818 patients that first year.

Today the community health center — now known as the Center for Family Health — provides primary health care and dental care to about 24,000 men, women and children annually at five facilities in schools and other sites across the county.

Their exponential growth is indicative of the state of the local economy, where unemployment stands at 15.5 percent, and 17.8 percent of Jackson County residents — or about 28,500 — are uninsured.

“We have lots and lots of people who had health insurance and don’t now,” said Marsha Kreucher, executive director of the Community Action Agency. “There is a tremendous urgency for health-care centers in our community.”

The demand for health care shows no signs of slowing down, a trend officials at the Center for Family Health are trying to prepare for.

With a $1.09 million infusion of federal stimulus funds, the center is poised for a major expansion as it moves to consolidate several of its facilities into a new, $9 million structure in downtown Jackson. Construction of the 50,000-square-foot building is set to begin in April. The new health center is scheduled to open in June 2011.

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