Clinic is first project to receive Medicaid match

July 12, 2010
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The Medicaid match program that has become an integral part of the capital campaign for the Heart of the City Health Center project has been around for three or four years, but the project marks the first time those federal dollars are being captured here.

“It’s only federally qualified health clinics that are eligible for it, and, I believe, local health departments. It allows the federal portion of Medicaid to be drawn down when we’re able to raise the state portion of those dollars,” said Chris Shea, executive director of Cherry Street Health Services, one of three nonprofit health organizations building the clinic.

“Right now, the match is about a 3-to-1 match, though that changes from time to time according to federal regulations,” he added.

The goal of the capital campaign is $4.1 million, and $3 million of that is eligible for the Medicaid matching funds. The new clinic is qualified to receive the funds partly because it will serve the physical and mental health needs of low-income residents.

“We are community governed and we adhere to a strict set of financial conditions that shows that we produce care efficiently and effectively,” said Shea, who added that the capital campaign has passed the halfway mark. “We’re actually a little over $2 million.”

Shea said construction of the center was going well. It is being built on Cherry Street between Sheldon and LaGrave avenues. The hole for the underground parking ramp has been dug and the building’s exterior walls are going up. The clinic is expected to open next June.

Many see it as a welcome asset for the city.

“Especially in that neighborhood, where so much has been done recently. The Saint Mary’s development, some of the city street infrastructure, the development by the (Catholic) Diocese of Grand Rapids, and developments by ICCF and Dwelling Place, as well, have come together to make it a very livable part of the city,” said Shea.

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