New buildings/expansions are on the horizon for the Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas.
CHC is working on the purchase plan for moving from its’ Fort Scott present site to the former Price Chopper building on Main Street at 23rd Street.
The present site is the former Mercy Hospital building at 401 Woodland Hills.
“We are… closing on our purchase of the 40,000 sq. ft. Price Chopper Building in Fort Scott on April 9,” Postai said. “The plan is to combine our walk-in care and main clinic together. The renovation will start as soon as possible, with a goal of completion prior to the expiration of our current lease with Mercy in December 2022.”
There is also a new CHC building in Pittsburg.
“We have scheduled our groundbreaking for our new Medical Education Building in Pittsburg which will be home to all the students we are/will be training,” Postai said.
The groundbreaking will be May 3 at 12:30 p.m. at the John Parolo Education Building, south of the CHC/SEK System Office.
“About $5.6 million in donations have been raised to cover the full cost of the building and its furnishings scheduled for completion in the summer of 2022,” she said. “In the meantime, work continues on the establishment of a family practice residency program in Pittsburg in collaboration with Kansas University Medical Center and Via Christi/Ascension; the application for accreditation has been submitted with a ‘virtual’ survey planned this fall.”
CHC is planning a clinic in Chanute in the near future.
“We also bought 10 acres of land in Chanute on which to build a clinic in Neosho County,” she said. “Given all our other projects, it will probably take us 3-5 years to get this done.”
CHC/SEK Awarded $11 Million To Expand COVID-19 Treatment
Last week President Joe Biden announced $6 billion from the American Rescue Plan will be invested in health centers nationwide, according to Postai.
The funds “will be used to expand COVID-19 vaccinations, testing and treatment for vulnerable populations, deliver preventative and primary health care service to people of higher risk for COVID-19 and expand health centers’ operational capacity during the pandemic and beyond, including modifying and improving physical infrastructure,” she said.
“Nineteen health centers in Kansas will receive a total of $62,634,375 including CHC/SEK who will receive $11,320,750,” she said. “Awards were calculated on the number of patients seen in 2019. This one-time funding must be spent within two years and must be designated for COVID-related activities; alterations and renovations are limited to $500,000.”
“Many health centers experienced massive layoffs and were forced to close sites during the last year,” said Postai. “For them, this funding will focus on recovery. We, however, weathered the first year of the pandemic and while we didn’t have the growth we originally projected, we actually had a slight increase in encounters.”
“As a result, we will be using this funding to develop new services, acquire additional equipment, explore new technology and find ways to work smarter,” she said. “Over the next 30 days, members of the leadership team and the board will be identifying ways to maximize this grant within the federal guidelines.”
For more information on this funding, go to https://bphc.hrsa.gov/program-opportunities/american-rescue-plan.
As you’re probably aware, the governor opened up vaccinations to all populations and we were one of the first 250 health centers in the U.S. to receive vaccines directly from the federal stockpile,” Postai said. “To date, we’ve given 20,801 shots throughout southeast Kansas including more than 3,000 to Bourbon County residents. To make an appointment, folks can call 866-888-8650 or (for Spanish-speakers) 620-240-8940 or go online to https//chcsek.org/getmyshot/”
White House Sending Easter Eggs to CHC
“We got egg-citing news from the White House this week,” Postai said. “As directed, we will be distributing the majority of the eggs to the 600-plus (CHC) employees including our staff in Bourbon and Linn counties.”
Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas was selected to receive a shipment of 800, 2021 White House Commemorative Easter Eggs, Postai was told in a letter from President Biden dated March 29.
To view the letter: 2021 White House Easter Eggs
Traditionally, the wooden Easter Eggs are distributed to children at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn, but due to COVID-19, this year’s Easter Egg Roll has been canceled, the letter said.
CHC is to share these Easter Eggs with frontline workers, volunteers, and members of their staff.
Any additional eggs to are to be given to community members who get vaccinated at the Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas, to share with children.