VNA denied grant from federal government

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At a glance

• Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association denied $2.5 million federal grant

• VNA to go ahead with remodel of current facility

• Purchase negotiations with The Memorial Hospital and Moffat County to continue

— The Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association has been waiting for several months to hear word about a $2.5 million grant from the federal government.

When they finally heard the answer Wednesday, it wasn’t the one they were hoping for.

They were denied the grant, which was part of $508 million to be awarded to Federally Qualified Community Health centers across the country.

Since the possibility of the federal grant surfaced, the VNA had been involved in negotiations with The Memorial Hospital and Moffat County about taking over some or all of the old hospital facility on Russell Street, next door to the VNA.

Eighty-five institutions received grants, including several in Massachusetts, California and Alaska, some for as much as $12 million, according to a statement from the White House.

None of the 15 community health centers in Colorado received grant money.

Suzi Mariano, VNA public information coordinator, said the funds did not go anywhere undeserving.

“They’re all community health centers,” she said. “They all help underserved areas.”

The VNA, however, still has hope of receiving help in the form of local funding.

The Colorado Health Foun­dation, a statewide non-profit, set aside $1 million to match part of the federal funds, hoping to leave the VNA with a total of $3.5 million.

Although the VNA did not receive federal money, the foundation still hopes to find a use for that $1 million.

“They haven’t determined what they are going to do with it,” Mariano said. “Instead of being earmarked for capital expenses, it might be used for operational expenses. But, we don’t know yet.”

Despite its uncertainty with future funding, the VNA is expanding its facility with a $300,000 grant used to remodel the current location and add new patient rooms.

“We are making those changes regardless,” Mariano said. “We’re looking forward to this remodel and expanding in the amount that we are able to.”

VNA board member Mary Brown recently has begun to coordinate the Moffat County Human Services partnership, whose goal it is to determine the best, most efficient and appropriate use of the old hospital space by nonprofits and services in the county.

She said the VNA’s grant denial did not count it out of future discussions and negotiations.

“The VNA needs additional space, and they’re certainly one of the partners,” Brown said. “So, they could be among the users of the old hospital space. I imagine there is a possibility they could utilize it.”

She said it was difficult to know precisely what the next steps will be or where funding will come from.

“But, we’re clearly going to proceed with the planning part,” Brown said.

While the future remains uncertain, Mariano said it was reassuring to know the outcome and not sit and wonder about what resources they will have to work with.

“We just want to move forward with what we have,” she said.

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