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Clinic funding still under consultation
Diversity 3
Diversity Health Center nurse practitioner Martha Kitchings talks with a Health Department spokesman Linda Ratcliffe in one of the center's renovated exam rooms. - photo by Photo by Andrea Washington
With additional state funding no longer a possibility, the Diversity Health Center Board is working with the Georgia Office of Rural Health through the Georgia Department of Community Health to have the current state grant extended through fiscal year 2008.
The $500,000 grant is scheduled to discontinue on June 30, but the board will need access to the funds while awaiting the “late fall, early summer” decision from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to approve or deny the federally qualified health center distinction for the center, according to Diversity Medical Director Russell Toal.
The FQHC designation would make Diversity eligible for up to $650,000 in federal funding each year, as well as provide access to the National Health Service Corps and the Vaccine for Children program.
Following a recent trip to Washington, D.C. and discussions with both ORH and DCH, Toal said he hoped the center’s circumstances would warrant an extension, but was unsure when the decision would be made.
“It’s really an administrative process inside the departments,” he said. “And we certainly can’t make the assumption that it’s a done deal until we hear back from them.”
He noted, however, the federal government could make an announcement on upcoming grants “potentially as early as May 1.”
In other Diversity news:
Diversity’s offices inside the Liberty County Health Department need just a few finishing touches to complete renovation, according to LCHD public relations and information specialist Linda Ratcliffe.
The center is designed to include six exam rooms, a lab room, an intake area and a number of offices for the staff.
The clinic, which provides services to residents regardless of their ability to pay, also continues to add about 100 new patients each month. While most patients are Liberty County residents, Toal said “a fair number” of Long County residents are seeking services at Diversity as well.
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