August 1, 2014

Elyria
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Federal funds ensure Health and Dentistry clinic will remain open

LORAIN — Federal funds just keep coming to the Lorain County Health and Dentistry clinic.

First, President Barack Obama’s recovery plan brought $1.3 million to the clinic that provides services to the uninsured and those on Medicaid and Medicare.

Then, another $100,000 in federal stimulus money was used to extend services and hours of operation, bringing the center’s total amount received to $1.4 million.

Now, U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton, D-Copley Twp., announced that the clinic will receive an additional $250,000 in federal funds.

“This crucial funding is very important for the continued operations,” Sutton said. “Community health centers provide a valuable service to those who struggle to afford or access health care in this country. As we reform health care, ensuring quality coverage and access for all Americans is the key toward its success.”

Receiving federal support is key to keeping the center open as it sees thousands of patients each year, many of whom are uninsured or underinsured and have few other choices when it comes to health care.

However, in recent years, money problems have threatened Health and Dentistry’s existence. Its troubles started in 2006, when Community Health Partners — now Community Regional Medical Center — announced it had to end its $600,000 annual payment to the Lorain-based community health center.

The board responded by seeking federal funding and raising fees for those at the poverty level, which amounts to an annual income of about $21,000 for a family of four.

Tuesday’s announcement, along with the $1.4 million already pledged to the center, will ensure the center remains open.

The center is also hiring additional doctors and staff as well as purchasing new equipment.