Hartford Health Agencies Awarded Federal Grants To Expand
JEFFREY B. COHEN
December 10, 2009
HARTFORD — - Two city health agencies were awarded a total of $16.1 million in federal economic stimulus money Wednesday to renovate and expand their facilities and increase the number of patients they serve.
The Charter Oak Health Center was awarded $10 million to overhaul its Grand Street facility, while Community Health Services Inc. was awarded $6.1 million to remake its Albany Avenue site.
"There aren't words to describe how happy I am," said Alfreda Turner, president of the Charter Oak Health Center, who got into her car late Tuesday night to drive to Washington, D.C. She said by phone that she had no idea her center would get the money when she began her drive.
"We got an invitation to the White House to meet with President Obama … because of our work in health centers," she said.
She said the grant would greatly increase the number of patients the center serves each year.
"Instead of seeing approximately 25 percent of our target population, this will allow us to see 40 to 45 percent of our target population," she said.
President Barack Obama announced the appropriation Wednesday of nearly $600 million in stimulus money for construction and renovation projects at 85 community health centers nationwide. The president said the funding would create jobs and "give more people the peace of mind of knowing that health care will be there for them and their families when they need it."
Community Health Services has a 48,000-square-foot building on Albany Avenue that it will expand with a two-story, 8,000-square-foot addition.
The addition will create more space for the agency's clinics in adult medicine, women's health, pediatrics, and adolescent medicine. Roughly $800,000 of the $6 million the agency received will be used for renovating its existing dental clinic.
"We're literally out of space," said Michael Sherman, the agency's director.
The expansion will allow Sherman and his staff to add about 4,000 patients to their current load of about 17,000. "This is a huge grant," he said.
Turner said the $10 million will allow her organization to renovate its 54,000-square-foot Grand Street facility and add an additional 6,000 square feet. That will result in a first level that includes an urgent care center and pharmacy that will be independent of the rest of the facility.
And, like Sherman's organization, the grant money will help Charter Oak Health Center to serve more people, Turner said.
U.S. Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., and U.S. Rep. John Larson, D-1st District, issued statements supporting the funding Wednesday.
"The fact that President Obama and his administration chose these two Hartford-based health centers to receive this funding is testament to the great and innovative work they do," Larson said.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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