Grants given to health centers

Published 8:08 am Wednesday, July 8, 2009

IVOR—Layoffs and other economic stresses related to the recession have increased the demand at community health centers over the past year. Handling that increased demand just got a little easier for 24 community health centers across the state. They will split $13.5 million worth of stimulus fund grants to help them deal with the increased demand.

Horizon Health Services Inc., which runs three clinics, including one on Ivor Road in Ivor, will receive $365,710 for capital improvement projects, according to Cheryl Ebersole, the organization’s chief executive.

Horizon will use the grant funds to purchase medical and lab equipment, perform a small renovation to its Waverly clinic, make parking lot improvements at the clinics and purchase emergency backup generators.

She says that the organization, which serves residents in Southampton, Sussex and Surry counties, has seen a large increase in patients in recent months.

“We have picked up 191 new patients since April,” Ebersole said. “I would say around 50 or more are uninsured.”

Horizon’s three clinics offer medical care to residents whether they are insured or uninsured.

The costs for services are income-based.

“Patients can be seen for as little as $8,” Ebersole said.

Horizon has been gearing up for the increased patient volume brought on by the economy. Ebersole said that the organization recently applied for and was awarded an Increased Demand for Services grant for $128,000, which allowed her to hire extra staff members.

She said that residents who are stressed about money issues should be aware that affordable health care is available.

“We have staffed up so that people can come here,” Ebersole said. “That’s one thing that they don’t have to worry about.”

This summer, Horizon is expanding the services it provides. Ebersole said that there are plans to open a dental center in Ivor.

“That’s a huge unmet need,” she said. She hopes that the facility will be open by August. Multiple grants were secured to make the state-of-the-art facility a reality.

Ebersole said that there are also hopes to expand and open another clinic in the future.

“We hope that we will have an opportunity to expand into Franklin,” she said. A needs assessment and a feasibility study must be completed before a Franklin clinic can become a reality.

According to Ebersole, it’s important that the public understand how carefully her organization spends grant money.

“Everything that we have done has been done so that we can serve our patients better,” she said.