June 28 2012
The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) will receive $597,542 from the U.S. Health Resource and Services Administration (HRSA) to fund clinic operations at the Hoonah Health Center.
The grant, which can be renewed each year, was among HRSA New Access Point grants announced on June 20 totaling $128.6 million to 219 clinics across the country to expand community health centers through the Affordable Care Act. The grants announced this week expanded care to 1.25 million additional patients and created approximately 5,640 new jobs in 41 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands.
With the grant, the SEARHC Hoonah Health Center earns a Section 330 community health center designation from HRSA. SEARHC already runs Section 330 community health centers in Angoon, Haines, Hydaburg, Juneau (Front Street Clinic), Kake, Kasaan, Klawock, Klukwan, Pelican, Tenakee Springs and Thorne Bay, and the Section 330 designation helped SEARHC tap non-Indian Health Service funding sources to expand services, hire new staff and improve facilities in those communities. The Section 330 community health centers provide health care services for medically underserved areas or populations, such as when a clinic is the only health care provider in a remote location or serves a special-needs population (for example, the SEARHC Front Street Clinic in Juneau serves the homeless). The Section 330 designation helps clinics provide medical, dental, vision, behavioral health and prevention services.
“This will provide a stable source of funding so we can improve our ongoing operations in Hoonah,” SEARHC President/CEO Charles Clement said. “The Section 330 community health center designation expands access to health care, and we have been able to use the designation to greatly improve our services in the other communities that have this designation. The Hoonah Health Center is the only health provider in Hoonah, and it mainly provides services to the Native population in Hoonah. Now non-Natives will be able to access care using the sliding fee schedule, and we will be able to tap additional funding so we can offer additional services to all the people who live in Hoonah.”
SEARHC is in the process of raising funds to build a much-needed new clinic in Hoonah. The new clinic will provide room to hire new staff and expand services. The City of Hoonah has donated land and the Denali Commission has approved a business plan for the new clinic. SEARHC has raised about three-quarters of the funds needed to build the clinic, and hopes to take bids and start construction in the not-so-distant future. The new grant is not for construction, and only for operations of the Hoonah clinic.