North Bay health centers get $11.8 million in construction grants

A handful of health centers in and near the North Bay received grants totaling $11.8 million as part of a national program under the health care reform law, it was announced today.

Santa Rosa Community Health Centers, Sonoma Valley Community Health Center, West County Health Centers and Clinic Ole were among nearly 400 centers nationwide to share in $728 million of federal Health and Human Services Department funding for renovation and construction projects at community health centers. Stated goals are to expand and improve community health.

The North Bay recipients are part of the Redwood Community Health Coalition, a network of federally qualified health centers in Marin, Sonoma, Napa and Yolo counties. CommuniCare Health Centers in Davis also received a grant.

Including CommuniCare, the combined total of grants is about 8 percent of all such funding across California, according to Pedro Toledo,  director of government and community relations for the Redwood Coalition.

"This is great news for under-served people in our service area," Mr. Toledo said.

Sonoma Valley Community Health Center received $5 million, which it will use to include dental chairs at its new primary care clinic, according to Mr.Toledo. Likewise, Santa Rosa Community Health Centers was awarded $2.78 million, which it will use to build a Santa Rosa dental clinic.

Santa Rosa Community Health Centers will be able to renovate and equip its new dental clinic with 12 dental chairs and a staff of 24, serving approximately 6,000 people for 18,000 visits per year, according to the health centers, which  hope to open the new site in 12 to 18 months.

“Santa Rosa Community Health Centers is thrilled to have the federal resources to open a dental clinic in Santa Rosa," said Naomi Fuchs, CEO of the health centers. "More than half of our patients have never seen a dentist.  The new dental clinic will make it possible for them to get the care they need and deserve to have a healthy, productive life."

There are no dental providers in Santa Rosa Community Health Centers’ service area that treat uninsured or low-income patients with a sliding scale fee schedule.

West County Health Centers, based in Guerneville,  received a grant of $492,000 and Clinic Ole of Napa received $175,000, totaling $667,000, which will be used for facility improvements.

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