VNA to get $300k in stimulus money |

VNA to get $300k in stimulus money

New project to expand facilities to begin soon

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Recovery Act Capital Improvement Program allocations to community health centers:

• $851 million in total funds nationwide

• $17 million for Colorado health centers

• $300,000 for the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association

For more

Recovery Act Capital Improvement Program allocations to community health centers:

• $851 million in total funds nationwide

• $17 million for Colorado health centers

• $300,000 for the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association

The Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association received $300,000 from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, officials announced Tuesday.

The VNA will use the money to do a complete remodel of the main floor at the current building at 745 Russell St., said Cole White, VNA director of operations.

“What that entails is some reconfiguration so we can add more exam rooms and utilize the space a little better,” White said. “We’re going to move some walls, add new carpet, and just reconfigure and upgrade.”

The project also will include an upgrade of the telecommunications system, White said. A new phone and Internet system will allow faster access to the Web and better phone connections.

The stimulus money, which came from the federal Recovery Act Capital Improvement Program, is intended for improving community health centers.

A federally certified community health center is one that provides care to the “medically underserved,” according to the Health Resources and Services Administration.

A community health center provides a large percentage of its care to the uninsured, low-income families and rural areas, the HRSA reported.

The Capital Improvement Program granted a total of $851 million to 1,500 community health care centers nationwide. Of that amount, $17 million went to community health centers in Colorado, such as the VNA in Craig.

“Community health centers provide critical services in Colorado’s communities, ensuring that the most vulnerable among us can see a doctor when they’re sick,” Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., said in a news release. “This funding will enable these centers to make pressing repairs and updates that will help them better serve the community and create jobs while increasing access to medical services.”

Efficiency and efficacy

To improve Northwest Colorado’s access to health care, the VNA will expand its main floor to make the in-flow of patients as efficient as possible.

White said the project will expand the number of exam rooms from six to 16.

Currently, two full-time providers can work out of the rooms in the clinic.

The VNA, however, is expanding its personnel to include four full-time providers and one volunteer physician on Thursdays.

White said the goal is to maximize the resources the VNA has.

Ideally, on any given Thursday, all five providers will be able to work from the clinic at the same time.

“When we have four full-time providers working out of the VNA, we’re going to need that extra space,” he said. “Access to medical services will be same-day.”

White said the VNA already has begun the planning process for the reconfiguration project.

“We’ve met with architects and builders to get a good idea of costs and what we can do with the money,” White said. “We’ve done a lot of the legwork already. When we get that check in our hands, we want to hit the ground running.”

Looking forward

The VNA has been in talks with The Memorial Hospital to purchase its building after TMH moves to a new facility.

However, White said the focus is on improving the VNA’s current facility.

“We’re looking at our current building, and asking ‘What can we do with what we have?'” he said. “If we were to expand into the other facility, well, that’s another question for another day.”

VNA development director Lisa Brown said the VNA is putting together a proposal for a greater amount of stimulus funds from the separate Facility Investment Program, which begins in November.

The Capital Improvement Program benefited all qualified community health centers. However, only a few will be awarded a larger amount from the FIP for long-term investments in upgrading operations and health care access.

“The federal government has been very supportive in helping us provide preventative care,” she said. “We are really on the cutting edge, and we want to expand to meet our future dreams.”

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