Community Health Care Center receives $130,000 federal grant
The Cascade County Community Health Care Center has received a $130,000 grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration with the help of Sen. Jon Tester.
“Community health centers keep Montanans safe and healthy,” Tester said in a release. “Cascade County’s Community Health Care Center provides care that is effective and affordable, guaranteeing all folks can take their kids to the doctor when they get sick.”
This is the first award under the CHCC’s new grant year cycle and is considered their base grant, according to Trista Besich, chief executive officer at CHCC. The funds are used to ensure the center is able to provide quality, low-cost services to patients who are uninsured or underinsured, Besich said.
One in 10 Montanans use community health care centers for primary care, dental or mental health care, according to Tester’s office.
During a joint city-county work session on April 16, Besich and Kelsey Gummer updated commissioners on the recently established health center at Paris Gibson Education Center.
CHCC has operated locally for 23 years and the Paris Gibson center is the first satellite location.
CHCC’s target population is anyone at 200 percent of the poverty level and below. That’s about 30,000 people in Cascade County, Besich said.
Gummer said the center will operate year-round and they are prepared to open more days at the Paris Gibson site. The school district provided the space and CHCC provided about $30,000 in supplies and equipment.
City Commissioner Bill Bronson said the school based center can help develop a culture of people who know those health services are available to them and seek them out.
County Commissioner Jane Weber said there was a time, when she was a newly elected official, that the CHCC was struggling financially and being subsidized by the county. Weber said that the State of Montana’s expansion of the Medicaid program, coupled with the staff’s efforts, has turned the financial situation around.
The clinic is “no longer a cash hemorrhage,” for the county, County Commissioner Joe Briggs said.
The CHCC is co-located with the City-County Health Department and is running out of space at the downtown location. The new school based center helps divert some patients to that location, freeing up some space and time at the main location, Briggs said. They’re also about a month away from opening the new dental clinic at Machinery Row. That move has freed up space in the downtown location for other medical space.