Castor announces stimulus funding for health centers
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07/07/09 Lindsey Kratochwill
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday | Listen to this entire show:

This morning at the Johnnie Ruth Clarke Health Center in St. Petersburg, U.S. Representative for Florida’s 11th Congressional District, Kathy Castor gave a press conference to announce the award of government funding to community health centers.

Representative Kathy Castor met with the press today to bring news of new funding that local community health centers in Tampa, Pinellas County and Manatee County will receive. She says that throughout the Tampa Bay area, over 7 million dollars has been given.

This funding comes as a part of President Obama’s stimulus plan. The funding to these health centers aims to make health care more affordable and create new jobs.

Cheryl Robinson is the managing director of the Johnnie Ruth Clarke Health Center. She joined Kathy Castor to describe the changes that will be made with the funds. The 1.1 million dollars awarded in June, which is designated for infrastructure, will be used to construct more exam rooms. The nearly half million dollars awarded in March goes toward hiring and maintaining health professionals. In order to receive this funding, health centers had to complete an application process.

Cheryl Robinson says this construction will help the center run more efficiently.

According to Robinson, despite the sometimes negative image of community health centers, the Johnnie Ruth Clarke Center provides health care comparable to a private doctor’s office.

The center accepts all who come in for health care. They employ financial consultants in order to determine what program the patient qualifies for. If none apply, the patient will be helped with a sliding scale fee.

This comes with the introduction of a health care reform bill that Kathy Castor says will include community health centers.

Included in the funding are Community Health Services of Pinellas, Tampa Family Health Centers and Manatee County Rural Health Services.

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