Portland Community Health Center gets $1.7M grant to open South Portland office

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SOUTH PORTLAND — A new community health center will open in December in the Redbank-Brick Hill neighborhood, with help from a federal Affordable Care Act grant.

The announcement of the South Portland Community Health Center was made Friday by U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine.

The $1.7 million New Access Point Community Health Center grant will be awarded to the Portland Community Health Center and administered by the Department of Health and Human Services.

The new community health center, an extension of the PCHC, will offer primary and preventative care, as well as treatment for chronic disease, mental health and substance abuse.

Approximately $356,000 will be provided for start-up costs, along with an additional $650,000 annually for the next two years, according to Pingree. The new center will be able to apply for additional federal funding at the end of that two-year grant cycle. During that time, the center expects to have provided more than 4,500 patient visits.

“I’m thrilled that we will now have one to serve the South Portland community,” Pingree said in a prepared statement. “The nation’s network of health centers is critical to providing quality health care to one in every 14 Americans.”

In recent years, South Portland has seen an increase in refugee, immigrant and homeless residents, the press release stated. The city has an estimated 17,000 low-income individuals, according to Pingree’s announcement.

Pingree said the center will hope to effectively reach these individuals through partnerships with the South Portland Housing Authority and South Portland Public Schools. 

“This community health center will make a huge difference for Mainers who are struggling to afford care – a number that has increased because of the state’s refusal to expand access to Medicaid,” Pingree said. 

Leslie Clark, Portland Community Health Center CEO, said this is an opportunity to develop model programs and services in South Portland that promote good health and wellness.

“We look forward to working closely with patients and organizations in South Portland to create a vibrant new center,” Clark said.

A specific location for the new center has not been identified.

The Portland Community Health Center opened in 2009 at 180 Park Ave. in Portland with help from the same grant program. It now also provides services at Preble Street and the Riverton Community Center.

The PCHC is also one of two health centers in the state to share in another, $1.32 million in federal grant.

Announced Aug. 11 by U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell, the $356,000 in Affordable Care Act funding will be used for “comprehensive primary health care services.”

The Katahdin Valley Health Care Center in Patten received a $966,000 grant. Combined, the grants are expected to provide care to more than 4,500 patients, according to the HHS press release.

Alex Acquisto can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or aacquisto@theforecaster.net. Follow Alex on Twitter: @AcquistoA.

Sidebar Elements

The Portland Community Health Center on Park Avenue in Portland will open a center in South Portland’s Redbank-Brick Hill neighbohood in December.

South Portland and Scarborough reporter for The Forecaster. Graduate of Western Kentucky University and the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies. Alex can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106.