• Stimulus funding meant to benefit entire community
By Naomi Klouda
The Seldovia Village Tribe Health Center received an early and fairly unique Christmas present this year. The gift – courtesy of the Obama Administration – included $2.2 million in stimulus funding that SVT plans to use to reconfigure a warehouse alongside the clinic.
The money should create about 24 new construction jobs for Homer, said Sarah Richardson, SVT public relations and marketing person.
“We wanted to offer more holistic health to the community, and needed a space for health education, groups, consultations, physical therapy and administration,” Richardson explained.
The SVT is a community health center that serves a broad spectrum of people. It’s a place to go, regardless of one’s ability to pay, and relies on grants for much of its funding.
“A lot of places applied for this grant. Our team did a good job of putting that grant application together,” Richardson said. “This will be wonderful for the community of Homer, because it opens many new services and gives them a lot more health options.”
The award was part of a $600-million package in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) to support major construction and renovation projects at 85 community health centers nationwide.
In Alaska, only the SVT Clinic and a Wrangell clinic were chosen to receive the help.
The awards are expected to create new job opportunities in construction and healthcare, as well as provide care for more than a half-million additional patients in underserved communities.
“Together, these three initiatives – funding for construction, technology and a medical home demonstration project – won’t just save more money and create more jobs, they’ll give more people the peace of mind of knowing that healthcare will be there for them and their families when they need it,” said President Barack Obama in a press release that came from Sen. Mark Begich’s office. “Ultimately, that’s what health reform is really about.”
Grants of $508.5 million were provided through the Facility Investment Program to address pressing health center facility needs. In addition, as much as $88 million will be available to help improve operational effectiveness and clinical quality by providing management, financial, technology and clinical support services.
To qualify for funding, a health facility must be a federally qualified “community” health center.
The SVT serves the community of Homer on a sliding scale. It is the tribal medical entity for Seldovia, Port Graham and Nanwalek, as well as other Alaska Natives from around the state who live in these communities.
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