Health
2:55 pm
Tue May 1, 2012

Community Health Center To Expand In Independence

One of Kansas City’s main community health centers got a major funding boost today. Swope Health Services has received $2,515,313 in federal grants for facility and infrastructure upgrades. 

A fifth of that money will go toward the equipment needed to upload mammography and dental images to electronic health records.   The rest will enable Swope to build a new clinic in Independence, Mo.

Swope’s current site in Independence, which has been open for ten years, is too small and inconvenient for many patients, according to Swope President, Dave Barber.

“It’s landlocked, it doesn’t provide access to bus routes and normal transportation,” says Barber. “So we’re going to move about five minutes away from that location to get us on access routes and build a bigger footprint so we can see more patients.”

The grants to Swope are part of more than $700 million in awards that the U.S Department of Health and Human Services issued to community health centers today.  The money came through the federal health law, which HHS has already used to fund construction and renovation projects at 157 current and new health center sites, including Kansas City’s other main community health center, Samuel Rodgers Health Center.

“Community health centers provide cost effective, patient centered, community based primary health care to those who need it the most,” said Capt. Debra Scott, Regional Administrator for the Health Resources and Services Administration, during today’s announcement at Swope’s central location.

Nationwide, more than 1,100 community health center have provided care to nearly 20 million patients, according to Scott.  

“Many of these centers are in need of upgrades, updates and need enhancements so they can actually improve their mission and reach more patients,” said Scott.

Along with Swope, three other health centers in Missouri received grants today:

  • Advocates for a Health Community in Springfield received $5,000,000
  • Family Health Center of Boone County in Columbia received $2,573,997
  • Northeast Missouri Health Council, Inc. in Kirksville received $239,559

Across the state line, four health centers in Kansas won a total of about $20 million in new funds:

  • Community Health Center Of Southeast Kansas in Pittsburg received $4,770,500
  • Konza Prairie Community Health Center in Junction City received $4,500,000
  • Prairiestar Health Center, Inc. in Hutchinson received $5,000,000
  • Salina Health Education Foundation in Salina received $2,752,660
  • The Hunter Health Clinic Incorporated in Wichita received $4,666,570

HHS says the funding will help centers see about 17,592 new patients in Missouri and about 39,496 new patients in Kansas. Swope, meanwhile, says it hopes to double its annual patient load in Independence from 2,711 at the current location to 4,660 within two years of opening its new site.

-------------------

This story is part of a reporting partnership that includes KCUR, NPR and Kaiser Health News.

-------------------

Find more Health Coverage on KCUR.

Follow KCUR health news on Twitter.