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CCFC Announces Second Round of 2013 Funding for Community Health Center Projects

$297K Awarded for Two Projects that Increase Access to Healthcare for Uninsured

The Community Clinic Funders’ Collaborative (CCFC), an initiative of the Harris County Healthcare Alliance, has officially announced the recipients of its second funding cycle for 2013, awarding a combined total of $297,000 for spring 2014. Two projects met the CCFC’s criteria for collaboration, capacity-building and sustainability for community health centers and will receive funding:

• Acute Afterhours Clinic was awarded $162,000 to assist in establishing an after-hours clinic to divert patients from local ERs. Based at Christ Clinic, it will provide acute medical care and then redirect patients to access primary, preventive care at Spring Branch FQHC, Access Health FQHC and Christ Clinic’s daily clinic. The need for acute care after hours was identified in the CCFC’s 2013 West Harris expansion study, which studied ways for clinics to assist area hospitals facing excessive ER visits. Additionally, a UT School of Public Health study showed Spring Branch and West Harris County having the highest concentration of ER visits in 2011.

• Shared Pharmacy was awarded $135,000 to upgrade the Houston Area Community Services (HACS) pharmacy’s point of sale system. This will enable HACS, which is centrally located, to contract with two other area clinics—Spring Branch Community Health Centers and Vecino Health Centers. This collaboration of the three clinics enables them to order and refill prescriptions at lower prices in an accessible, central location for patients of all three healthcare providers.

The CCFC, under the auspices of Harris County Healthcare Alliance, facilitates funding for projects that improve the capacity and sustainability of the county’s community health clinics (including FQHCs and charity clinics), which meet stringent requirements for providing comprehensive, quality healthcare services, including primary, behavioral health and dental care.

“Support for the clinics funded through the CCFC helps expand primary care to the county’s residents that otherwise would depend on emergency rooms or slip through the cracks altogether,” said Lisa Mayes, Executive Director, Harris County Healthcare Alliance. “The FQHCs and other community clinics are essential for providing healthcare services to thousands of uninsured and underinsured residents in Houston and Harris County.”

Harris County is reported to have more than 1 million uninsured individuals residing in its borders, currently served by 28 FQHC sites, which are set up in communities with historically high numbers of uninsured. While insurance for most Texans will become accessible under the Affordable Care Act, the state of Texas’ decision not to extend Medicaid creates a gap for almost one million Texans who fall below federal poverty level. These Texans will not be eligible for insurance or subsidies in the Health Insurance Marketplace. (For other uninsured residents, information about health insurance enrollment and the possibility of receiving subsidies is often available at community health centers.)

Five applications were submitted by the October 11, 2013 deadline for the CCFC Grant Cycle II. Funding is awarded to Alliance members that are community clinics or applying on behalf of community clinics. Non-Alliance members also may apply for funding through collaboration on a project with member applicants.