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Utah wins money for four clinics to expand health safety net

Published September 24, 2013 8:37 am

Charity care • New federal health clinics coming to South Salt Lake, Vernal, Richfield and Kanosh.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Utah won $2 million in federal funding to open four new health clinics in the underserved areas of South Salt Lake, Vernal, Richfield and Kanosh.

The new Federally Qualified Health Center clinics will open in January 2014, growing Utah's health safety net and bringing preventive care within reach of 17,000 Utahns. The money was awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on a competitive basis.

"Almost 10 percent of the 32 awards nationally came to Utah. It was a banner day for us, and particularly for those communities," said Alan Pruhs, executive director of the Association for Utah Community Health (AUCH).

The Affordable Care Act promises to improve access to care by reducing the nation's uninsured rate. But the newly insured will need doctors with room in their practices to take on more patients, said Pruhs.

"These new centers free up new access points for the privately and publicly insured and the uninsured," he said. "Our hope is to keep people healthy and reduce inappropriate use of [emergency] rooms."

Utah's 11 community health centers currently operate 30 clinics throughout the state. The four newly funded clinics will bring the total number to 34, and the number of patients served annually to 129,000.

For more information on Utah's health centers, including locations and fact sheets, visit http://www.auch.org.