WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., Dec. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Quantum Foundation has announced that it is funding its Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) initiative with a new pool of $500,000 that will be available in early 2008. The pool of funds will be used to assist existing or new area clinics in their efforts to become new FQHCs, FQHC satellites, and FQHC "look a likes."
"We are doing this for the simple reason that we need more primary care capacity in Palm Beach County," Quantum President Paul Gionfriddo said in announcing the initiative. "Our safety net primary care shortage is impacting area hospitals, including emergency departments, and has clearly risen to a crisis level that must be addressed as soon as possible. This initiative won't solve the problem -- but we hope it will demonstrate our commitment to doing all we can on our part."
Unlike free clinics, FQHCs bill for services and serve both insured and uninsured patients. In return, the federal government supports FQHCs through enhanced Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements, reduced drug pricing, special federal grants, and a variety of provider incentives. With the number of uninsured residents growing to nearly a quarter million in Palm Beach County, FQHCs offer a sustainable model for providing high quality health care.
Currently the county has three FQHCs, one in Pahokee, one in Belle Glade, and one in West Palm Beach, with a small satellite in North Palm Beach. Another is under construction in Palm Springs, and is scheduled to open in late 2008.
"Data from the Health Department -- a great partner in developing FQHC capacity in the County -- indicate at a minimum the need for additional FQHC capacity in Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Lantana, Lake Worth, Riviera Beach, and Westgate," Gionfriddo added. "Our objective is to focus our resources as much as we can on these areas, and work with any and all public and private partners who share our objective."
In recent years, Quantum has been a strong backer of the Palm Springs clinic, which will be operated by the nonprofit Florida Community Health Centers (FCHC), and recently provided a grant to the FCHC Pahokee Clinic as well, which was in turn largely supported by the Health Care District. In addition, Quantum has provided a technical assistance grant to the Florida Public Health Institute to assist both the Health Department (which already operates two FQHCs in Palm Beach County), other providers, and free clinics in exploring FQHC expansion in the targeted communities. "This is a problem that will only be solved through teamwork," Gionfriddo said "We're only one player here, and we welcome all interested parties to the team."
Quantum's funds will support five specific activities associated with establishing an FQHC -- business plan development, FQHC application support, facility renovation, start-up equipment costs, and start-up costs.
The Quantum Foundation is Palm Beach County's leading health foundation granting over $70 million in funds to charitable and governmental entities within the county for over ten years. The foundation strives to improve health care through access to and changes within the health delivery system as well as education reform.
|SOURCE Quantum Foundation|
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