Local clinics get help from stimulus

April 17, 2009 10:55:50 AM PDT
You've heard about all that stimulus money, well two small health clinics are among the first in Houston to receive some of it. They provide free or reduced cost medical care. And neither expected the grants they had applied for a year ago, to turn into a million dollars this week."When my insurance dropped, my doctor dropped me," said patient Patricia Chavin.

Chavin, who suffered a stroke, found help at the Houston area community services clinic.

"The doctors don't treat me like just a patient, I feel like family here," she said.

The clinic treats about 1000 patients a year, many like Patricia. Now they plan to expand to 3,500 patients, since receiving a surprise -- $1.3 million in recovery act funds.

"We're extremely thrilled and excited because it does provide additional capacity to this clinic," said Joe Fuentes, CEO of Houston Area Community Services. "We're at now has three rooms and one procedure room, we'll expand to seven rooms and one procedure room."

For the first time this money will allow them to start treating children. They're in the process of hiring a pediatrician and in a small way, it may help take pressure off Houston's two big pediatric emergency rooms.

For Motherhood, Inc., which also received $1.3 million, the money was just in time. The board and staff were thrilled. Everyone has worked without pay since state funding ran out in September.

"Working at Motherhood without pay -- I went into nursing not for the money but for the love of nursing, to do something and impact somebody's life," said nurse practitioner Linda Knighten.

Knighten works in the Medical Center at night, so she can work here by day.

"They're so happy to have a place to go within walking distance of their house," said Knighten. "They don't have cars to come here."

"We're very thankful for the Bureau of Health Care for looking into our grant and giving us this award," said Motherland Founder, CEO Victor Ndando-Ngoo.

Now they plan to hire a dentist, an eye doctor, and pay their loyal staff.

"Board member-thank god now we have resources we can expand," said patient Margarita Ledesma.

Here is the location to the two clinics that received the funds:

MotherLand Health Clinique
713-290-0001
4040 Yale
Houston 77018
www.MotherLandInc.org

Houston Area Community Services
1710 West 25th St
Houston 77008
713-426-0027

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Christi Myers is ABC13's Healthcheck reporter

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