ROCKLAND, Maine — The Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, recently announced funding awards to organizations around the country seeking to develop Community Health Centers. Penquis, the community action agency serving Knox, Penobscot, and Piscataquis counties, is the recipient of one of only four awards in New England.
The HRSA (Health Resources and Services Administration) has selected Penquis to receive $80,000 in grant funding to assist in the planning and development of a mainland Knox County Health Center. The purpose of the Health Center will be to provide primary, preventive, and other health care services to underserved communities in Knox County.
This planning grant will further the efforts of the Knox County Health Access Coalition which is comprised of over 50 community members representing medical, dental, behavioral health, and social services providers; consumers; state and local government, education; business; faith based organizations; and others. The Coalition identified health care access as a critical need for mainland Knox County.
‚ÄúKnox County residents face a number of health challenges including various barriers to care such as lack of insurance, shortage of providers accepting Medicaid patients and limited transportation options,‚ÄĚ said Shannon Bonsey, Penquis Chief Operating Officer. ‚ÄúAs a Community Action Agency, our job is to help meet community needs that improve the health and wellbeing of the individuals and families in the communities we serve. Penquis is pleased to be able to assist community members to plan for the development of a Health Center to serve mainland Knox County.‚ÄĚ
Penquis and local community leaders, health care providers and citizens share a vision of providing comprehensive primary care and preventive care – including medical, dental and behavioral health/substance abuse services – to persons of all ages, regardless of their ability to pay.
‚ÄúThis is a very exciting project for Knox County and we are very fortunate to have received this grant,‚ÄĚ said Coalition member, Paul Klainer, MD, Medical Director and Founder of the Knox County Health Clinic. ‚ÄúThis is a fabulous opportunity to work with other leaders and stake holders to improve access to healthcare for all.‚ÄĚ
Led by Penquis, the Knox County Health Access Coalition will hold planning meetings and public discussions to engage citizens in the planning process; consider data from recent community needs assessments; select a service delivery model appropriate to community needs, capacity and resources; determine site location, facility and staffing needs; create bylaws and a governing board; develop an operations plan and seek funding to establish and operate a health center. By the end of this 12 month process the Coalition will be prepared to submit a grant application for funding that will support the creation of a Rural Health Center on the mainland in Knox County.
‚ÄúThe talents and commitment of the various Coalition Members from Knox County are sure to develop an implementation plan that will help make affordable, quality health care assessable to all,‚ÄĚ said Bonsey. ‚ÄúPenquis is pleased to be able to assist community members to plan improved access to healthcare for mainland Knox County residents.‚ÄĚ
Contact Name: Pinny Beebe-Center
Telephone Number: (207)974-2435