Part of big wish list; regional project, Santa Rosa, Sonoma, Petaluma, Healdsburg included

NORTH BAY -- Two North Bay members of Congress are seeking nearly $10 million in funding earmarks for the region's community health centers.

The $10 million is part of a total wish list of more than $864 million for a range of projects stretching across both congressional districts all the way to the Oregon border.

Reps. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, and Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, are collectively seeking funds to support infrastructure, technology and expansion projects at the following health centers: Sonoma Valley Community Health Center; Santa Rosa Community Health Centers; Redwood Community Health Coalition, which serves the entire North Bay; and the Alliance Medical Center.

Rep. Thompson and Rep. Woolsey have asked for $1.5 million to fund expansion and greening efforts at the Sonoma Valley Community Health Center’s Healthy Pathways Capital Project, which would help pay for the construction of “environmentally and economically sustainable green buildings.”  It would also create 26 professional jobs and 82 trade jobs over the course of a year and half, according to the Congress members.

Nearly $2.5 million is being sought for implementation of an electronic medical records system for the Redwood Community Health Coalition, which includes 10 community health centers.

Another $4 million would help fund the construction and expansion of buildings for the Santa Rosa Community Health Centers, formerly Southwest, and the Sonoma Valley Community Health Center. Rep. Thompson cited the Sonoma County Department of Health and Human Services’ claim that with the funding the health center in Sonoma would be able to increase patient volume by 33 percent over the next four years. For the Santa Rosa health centers, the funding would help with the expansion of the Fountaingrove facility that is expected to serve 9,500 new patients.

And the Petaluma Health Center, Alliance Medical Center and Santa Rosa Community Health Centers stand to receive approximately $1.6 million for programs that would provide mental health and substance abuse guidance and screenings, should the funding earmarks be approved.

Separately, Rep. Woolsey is seeking $215,500 for Santa Rosa Community Health Centers to “increase its capacity to provide vital health care services.”

Rep. Thompson, meanwhile, separately asked for $170,000 for two medical centers, one in Healdsburg and the other in Windsor, that are a part of Alliance for the purchase and installation of emergency generator systems.

Although community health centers will likely see additional patients in light of the passage of health care reform, the funding proposals were submitted long before it passed either chamber of the house in Washington.

“Most of our district’s public organizations are struggling to fund projects which are essential to our local economies,” Rep. Thompson said in a statement. “As economic conditions become more difficult, it is more important than ever that cities and counties get help for public projects that … rebuild our hospitals and health clinics.”