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Health services nonprofit expands reach
An $858,000 grant from the federal government will allow the state’s largest Federally Qualified Health Center to provide services at an additional location in the region.
"Safety net" provider
The nonprofit Cherry Street Health Services in Grand Rapids received the grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, enabling it to assume operation of the Health Connections service of the Barry Eaton Health Department in Hastings in early 2014.
Congress created the FQHC program under Medicare’s direction in 1990. They are referred to as “safety net” providers: community health centers, public housing centers, outpatient health programs for Native Americans and programs serving migrant workers and the homeless. The main purpose is to enhance the provision of primary care services in underserved urban and rural communities.
“We are very pleased to expand our services and provide access to health care to the residents of Barry County, especially to those who are underserved,” said Chris Shea, CEO of Cherry Street Health Services. “We have an eye on quality and are eager to fully restore these much-needed services to the community.”
On average, Cherry Street opens a new site every two years.
The organization is wrapping up its fundraising campaign for its Wyoming Community Health Center, which opened in 2011, and is now ready to begin providing services to the residents of Barry County with the help of the HHS grant.
The announcement was made at Cherry Street’s 25th Anniversary Celebration in November, where the organization honored long-time friend Phil McCorkle, former president/CEO of Mercy Health Saint Mary’s.
McCorkle said Cherry Street has “literally become the industry’s gold standard” and a model for FQHCs across the country.
Cherry Street Health Services opened its first health center in Grand Rapids in 1988, at 550 Cherry St. SE, offering medical and dental services.
The organization has more than 20 locations, offering comprehensive medical, dental, vision and behavioral health services to more than 65,000 patients per year.