JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (WIBW) - Community health care centers in Kansas received more than $21 million in grants from the Department of Health and Human Services.
One center in Junction City, the Konza Prairie Community Health Center and Dental Clinic, is one of five recipients in Kansas, receiving a $4.5 million grant.
Jay Angoff, Regional Director of HHS, on Friday visited the center on 361 Grant Avenue, to share the good news with Konza Prairie's board and staff.
"This past week we announced nationwide grants of $730 millionto community health centers throughout the country [and] as I said, five in Kansas," Angoff said. "The most you can get is $5 million and you all were awarded $4.5 million. So that's pretty good," he said to cheers from board members.
The money comes from the new health care law, the Affordable Care Act.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced $21,689,730 in grants towards construction and renovation of community health centers on Tuesday. Grantees estimate these awards will help them serve approximately 39,496 new patients.
The grant couldn't have come at a better time, Konza Prairie executives said. The center serves patients who are uninsured, underinsured, on Medicaid or Medicare, as well as patients with insurance. 50 percent are uninsured, and its clientele include many active-duty soldiers and their families from Fort Riley.
Christina Carrigan of Junction City and a mother of two, said Konza Prairie is a well-kept secret that has helped her through some tough times.
"At the time I had my daughter, I wasn't working and i didn't have insurance," she said. She became a patient two years ago. "They offered the sliding scale and I was really pleased to have that," she said, referring to a program that permits patients to pay depending on their income level.
Angoff cited that policy as one of Konza Prairie's qualities. "You don't turn people away. That's one example of what's best about our health care system," he said.
"Last year we served 9000 patients. We're hoping to double that number this year," Michael Dolan, Chief Operations Officer of the health center and dental clinic, said.
"The grant we received today is going to allow us to expand in construction, to add on more dental operation rooms, medical exam rooms," he said. "This will help us see more patients and be a better resource for the community," he said.
Carrigan said she has moved her entire family's care to the Konza Prairie center, even though she has insurance now. "It's compassionate care." she said.