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Health care grant funds new medical facility in Hilmar

POSTED August 16, 2011 9:31 p.m.

A new federal grant will allow the Livingston Medical Group to open a new medical facility in Hilmar, expected to provide medical care for 4,500 new patients.

“This grant award is great news for residents of Merced County,” said Congressman Dennis Cardoza (D-Merced), who wrote a letter supporting the grant. “Much of the Central Valley has a history of being medically underserved, and this new health center will boost access to care for thousands of people in our community. I am proud to have played a role in securing federal support for this critical investment in our Valley’s health and well-being.”

The $316,562 grant from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration comes in the form of a New Access Point Grant, part of $11 billion set aside for the operation, expansion, and construction of health centers in the Affordable Care Act. The new access points are intended to eliminate barriers to affordable and accessible primary health care services for specific populations or communities.

Merced County has been designated a medically underserved area by the Department of Health and Human Services. Throughout the San Joaquin Valley, there are fewer than 87 primary care physicians for every 100,000 patients.

“With an existing shortage well established and an aging population, our country desperately needs investments in the health care workforce, not rescissions,” Cardoza said.

The new facility will open within four months, at a location yet to be determined. Initially, the facility will operate as a satellite office for the Livingston Medical Group’s Livingston campus.

In addition to the 4,500 new patients cared for by the new Hilmar facility, thousands of additional medical visits are expected to occur. Family practice, pediatrics, perinatal care, gynecology, behavioral health, nutrition and health education, chronic disease prevention, family planning, and other services will be offered.

As one of California’s first non-profit community health centers, the Livingston Medical Group currently serves Livingston and the surrounding areas. The center focuses on low-income individuals and medically underserved communities.

“Livingston Medical Group is extremely excited about the opportunity to provide greater access to primary care for those that need it,” said John Alexander, CEO of Livingston Medical Group. “We are particularly appreciative of Congressman Cardoza for his support and recognition of community/migrant health centers and the vital role they play today and will continue to play in the future of health care. We look forward to forging new partnerships and creating a presence in the community of Hilmar and surrounding rural areas.”

To contact Alex Cantatore e-mail acantatore@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.

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