The Department of Health and Human Services this week announced Louisiana will receive $3.35 million to create six new federally qualified health center sites.  The sites will be located in St. Joseph, Clinton, Ferriday, Livonia and Monroe and will serve an estimated 15,000 patients annually. 

A federally qualified health center (FQHC) is a federally designated facility that receives enhanced Medicaid and Medicare funding, as well as federal grant money, to provide primary care services such as comprehensive medical history, assessment and treatment, immunizations, well-baby care, vision, hearing and dental screenings, radiology, laboratory services, health education, health promotion and individual case management to patients regardless of their ability to pay.

During her Statewide Health Care Summit in March 2004, which kicked off the state’s health care reform process, Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco identified creating more FQHCs in Louisiana as a crucial short-term reform goal.

“These clinics, which will help us deliver health care services effectively and affordably at the community level, would not have received funding without hard work and dedication at the local level,” Gov. Blanco said. “I congratulate all of the grantees for pursuing the federal applications necessary to open or expand these facilities.”

The five grantees, and the amount awarded to each, are:

·       Tensas Parish Community Health Center received $400,000 to open a new core site in St. Joseph.

·        Primary Care Providers for a Healthy Feliciana received $650,000 to open a new core site in Clinton.

·        Catahoula Parish Hospital District No. 2 received $666,667 to open a satellite site in Ferriday.

·       Innis Community Health Center received $775,000 to open a satellite site in Livonia.

·        Primary Health Care Services received $858,333 to open a satellite site and a homeless clinic, both in Monroe.

Four of the five grantees also received assistance from the Department of Health -- Bureau of Primary Care and Rural Health in the form funding and technical assistance for the development of their FQHC projects and grant applications.

“Opening these new facilities demonstrates that by partnering local groups with state resources, we can expand health care services throughout Louisiana,” said Department of Health Secretary Dr. Fred Cerise.

According to the Louisiana Primary Care Association, the state trade association for FQHCs, there are now a total of 45 health center sites in the state.  The association also provided technical assistance and support to the five Louisiana applicants. 

“This is a monumental victory for Louisiana as we attempt to address the growing number of uninsured,” said Rhonda Litt, the Executive Director of the Louisiana Primary Care Association.  “This win confirms that the collective efforts of LPCA and the Bureau of Primary Care and Rural Health are working.  We are extremely excited and are ready to roll up our sleeves even more now!”

Louisiana’s five grant awards puts the state third, just behind California with 13 grants and Texas with 10 grants, out of the 43 states that received grant funding.  Five grants are the most ever awarded to Louisiana in a single community health center grant cycle.