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  • $1.7 million in federal funding for new community health center in South Portland

    Congresswoman Chellie Pingree announced on August 20, 2015 that the Portland Community Health Center will receive a federal Affordable Care Act grant to open a new community health center in South Portland.
    The New Access Point Community Health Center grant—administered by the Department of Health and Human Services—will provide $355,848 for start-up costs and $650,000 annually for the next two years.
    “This is fantastic news for the area. The nation’s network of health centers is critical to providing quality health care to 1 in every 14 Americans. I’m thrilled that we will now have one to serve the South Portland community,” said Pingree. “I applaud Portland Community Health Center and its partners in identifying the need for these services in South Portland and winning this competitive funding. This community health center will make a huge difference for Mainers who are struggling to afford care—a number that has increased because of the state’s refusal to expand access to Medicaid.”
    An exact location for the South Portland Community Health Center has not been determined, but plans call for it to be in South Portland’s Redbank/Brick Hill area. South Portland has an estimated 17,000 low-income individuals and families. As housing costs have become more expensive in Portland, South Portland has seen this number increase, as well as growing refugee, immigrant, and homeless populations. Through partnerships with the South Portland Housing Authority and South Portland Public Schools, the center hopes to effectively reach these target groups.
    “This is a wonderful opportunity to develop model programs and services for the people of South Portland that promote good health and wellness for all,” said Portland Community Health Center CEO Leslie Clark. “We look forward to working closely with patients and organizations in South Portland to create a vibrant new center, which will open in December.”
    The new center will have a focus on primary and preventive care, chronic disease management, mental health and substance abuse. At the end of the two-year-grant—after which it can reapply for continued federal funding—the center expects to have provided over 4,500 patient visits. The announcement comes during National Health Center Week, as health centers across the country celebrate the 50th anniversary of the federal program. Portland Community Health Center opened its first center in Portland in 2009 with assistance from the same New Access Point federal grant. In all, this Affordable Care Act program has helped create more than 700 new health center sites across the country.