Whitesburg-based Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation (MCHC) received a $608,317 federal grant this week that will enable it to open a sixth medical clinic in southeastern Kentucky.
MCHC’s chief operating officer, L.M. “Mike” Caudill, said Tuesday the organization will use the funding made possible by the Affordable Care Act to open a new clinic in Pineville in Bell County.
“We were able to establish there was a need there,” Caudill said of the coming Pineville clinic, which will open within 120 days and will mark MCHC’s first expansion since it started its clinic in the City of Har- lan in 2004. MCHC also operates the Whitesburg Medical Clinic, its flagship operation, as well as two clinics in Perry County (Leatherwood and Buckhorn), and one in Owsley County (Booneville).
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced Tuesday that MCHC’s Pineville clinic will be one of 164 new health center sites in 33 states and two U.S. Territories for the delivery of comprehensive primary health care services in communities that need them most. She said the 164 awards, officially known as New Access Point Grants, total about $101 million.
“ The Affordable Care Act has led to unprecedented increases in access to health insurance,” Burwell said. “Part of building on that progress is connecting people to the care they need. Health centers are keystones of the communities they serve. (Tuesday’s) awards will enable more individuals and families to have access to the affordable, quality health care that health centers provide. That includes the preventive and primary care services that will keep them healthy.”
Caudill said MCHC’s Pineville clinic will offer pediatric and obstetrics and gynecology care in addition to family care.
A Department of Health & Human Services press release said Tuesday’s round of funding will add to the more than 550 new health center sites that have opened in the last four years as a result of the Affordable Care Act. Today, nearly 1,300 health centers operate more than 9,000 service delivery sites that provide care to nearly 22 million patients — nearly five million more patients than at the beginning of 2009.
Health centers including MCHC have also been critical in helping people sign up for health insurance through the Marketplace. Since 2013, health centers assisted more than 9 million individuals in their efforts to become insured.
“More people have insurance in the United States than ever before,” said Jim Macrae, acting administrator of HHS’s Health Resources and Services Administration. “Health centers provide an accessible and dependable source of culturally competent primary care for many of the newly insured.”
The recently enacted bipartisan Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act builds on this progress by extending mandatory funding for health centers in fiscal years 2016 and 2017.
MCHC was one of two Kentucky nonprofit health services to be awarded a New Access Point grant, applications for which had to submitted last fall. Prestonsburg based Mountain Comprehensive Care Center, which operates mental health clinics in Floyd, Johnson, Magoffin, Martin and Pike counties, was awarded $650,000.
MCHC and MCCC are not related.