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Utah to open six new community health clinics with federal cash

Published November 12, 2013 9:56 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated.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's network of community health clinics has received another infusion of federal cash to extend its reach into high-uninsured areas of the state.

The $2.4 million seed grant will jump-start the creation of clinics in Glendale and Midvale in Salt Lake County and in Escalante in Garfield County.

That's on top of three other federally qualified clinics to be built in South Salt Lake, Vernal and by the Paiute Tribe to serve Richfield and Kanosh.

"We submitted six applications and we got all six funded," said Alan Pruhs, executive director of the Association for Utah Community Health, an umbrella organization for the community clinics. Together the six clinics will serve 28,000 patients and are expected to open in 2014.

The funding was awarded on a competitive basis through a trust created by the Affordable Care Act. States choosing not to expand Medicaid had an edge because there's not going to be an affordable option for many of their uninsured residents, said Pruhs.

But the health centers, run by nonprofit organizations and governed by boards comprised mostly of health consumers, also cater to the insured.

"The community gets to decide whether they want to focus on obesity or diabetes based on their health needs. You really get community-directed health care at these centers," said Pruhs.

The centers currently provide comprehensive medical services including treatment for acute and chronic illness, preventive care, prenatal care, oral health, and behavioral health to more than 112,000 patients annually.