Goshen medical clinic is all smiles over federal grant
Posted: 06/23/2012 at 1:15 am
By: Marilyn Odendahl
The medical facility on Middlebury Street has been awarded a Health Center New Access Point grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It was one of 219 health centers chosen from across the United States to divide the more than $128.6 million in funding and one of only three in Indiana.
The grant will provide Maple City with $650,000 a year for nearly three years.
“This is huge for us,” said Dr. James Nelson Gingerich, director of the center. “It’s much bigger than anything we’ve gotten before.”
Part of the money will be used to contract with local dentists to provide routine dental care for all Maple City patients at reduced rates. The health care center has been wrestling with how to provide access to dentists for more than a decade.
Every week, the medical center gets a request for help with a toothache, cavity or other dental issue, Gingerich said. However, treatment options are limited, which increases the risk of a relatively minor problem with teeth and gums becoming worse and severely impacting a patient’s overall health.
In addition to dental care, the grant will be used to provide funding for:
• Elkhart County Clubhouse. Maple City will offer patients with mental illness access to the services available at the Clubhouse. This organization helps reintegrate these patients into the community and job market.
• More staff. Maple City will be able to take new patients by hiring additional doctors and nurses in the next couple of years. The clinic is filled to its gills with patients and has not accepted any new ones in awhile, said Don Yost, grant writer for the facility.
“That’s really exciting,” Yost said of being able to add patients. “One of the hardest things for us is telling people who need medical care, we don’t have the room.”
Maple City operates on roughly a $1 million annual budget, with 75 percent of its funding coming from fees for service, Gingerich said. The HHS grant will not be used to support existing programs but rather to expand the center’s offerings to help address additional needs in the community.
“I’m just grateful,” Gingerich said.
Maple City serves 2,500 people each year. Many of the patients live in the north and east neighborhoods of Goshen, an area that includes an abundance of young families and people who speak Spanish.
In 2010, the center received the Premier Health Award from the Indiana Public Health Foundation for an exceptional contribution to preventive medicine and public health.