Castor hails stimulus funding for Tampa health clinic
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03/30/09 Mitch E. Perry
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Congresswoman Kathy Castor spoke in front of a community health clinic in North Tampa today, where she announced that new federal stimulus money will allow the center and its Hillsborough affiliates to hire 9 new employees, including two family practice doctors.

Two billion in grants from the stimulus bill was set aside for community health centers nationally. Approximately three-quarters of that is for construction, renovation and equipment, with the other $500 million to go directly to clinics.

The Tampa Family Health Centers in Hillsborough will get $605,000 of that money.

Charlie Bottoms is the CEO of Tampa Families Health Centers, whose headquarters resides on Fowler Avenue. The Centers include four dental clinics, four pharmacies and a homeless health care center in Hillsborough County.

Bottoms says his clinics currently serve more than 25,000 patients; the new funding will allow 12,000 more to be served.

The funding for the community health centers comes as Congress is soon poised to begin debate on health care reform, one of the central tenets in President Barack Obama’s campaign platform that he shows no signs of backing off from, despite pressure to do so from Congressional Republicans and some political analysts who say there’s too much else on his plate right now.

The funding for community health care centers is based on the number of uninsured in a particular county, which is why Bottoms says Hillsborough County received the amount it did.

This is at least the third news conference Castor has held to highlight where portions of the $787 billion stimulus legislation are going in her Congressional District. The Tampa area Democrat says such announcements will continue as more funding is distributed.

Last week Florida unemployment rate went to 9.4 percent, the highest in over 30 years. Yet some Republican members of the state Legislature are talking about rejecting over a billion dollars in aid for the unemployed, because they say taking the money now would mean a hardship later for Florida companies that pay into the state's unemployment insurance fund. It’s the same argument made by several GOP governors around the country; Congresswoman Castor does not approve.

For more information about the Tampa Family Health Centers, visit tampachc.com.

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