Feds offer extension to keep Neighborhood Health Care from closing community care centers

Local agency said it lost funding for 2014

CINCINNATI – A federal health agency says it has offered a four-month funding extension to keep several local health-care centers from closing by the end of the year.

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has offered to extend funding for Neighborhood Health Care, Inc., through April, its director of communications, Martin Kramer, told WCPO late Thursday.

Saying it had lost federal funding, NHC had announced it would have to close its centers in Walnut Hills/Evanston, Norwood, Harrison and Downtown, along with school-based health center programs at Rockdale Academy, South Avondale, and Hughes Center, by Dec. 30.

It was not known if NHC would accept the funding extension. Calls to NHC were not immediately returned.

NHC says it services 4,000 patient visits per month.

“The key goal for our program is to continue services to the community,” Kramer said in explaining why the agency offered the extension.

HRSA's website says it is "the primary federal agency for improving access to health care services for people who are uninsured, isolated or medically vulnerable." That includes people living with HIV/AIDS, and pregnant women, mothers, and children, it says.

Kramer said NHC was eligible to apply for HRSA funding in 2014 but HRSA had received “no eligible applications for the service area.”

Kramer said he could not say why or if NHC had been rejected for 2014 funding.

In a statement, NHC said it found out Dec. 17 that HRSA decided not to approve the 2014 Service Area Competition (SAC) grant for NHC.

“We are saddened by this turn of events,” NHC said in its statement.

NHC acknowledged it had “struggled in recent years with operational infrastructure and rightsizing.”

The NHC statement thanked Interact for Health and HealthPoint Board of Directors “for providing financial aid and leadership support this year in the development of a sustainable 2014 operating plan. However, sustainability is not achievable without the federal funding for a new period to begin January 1, 2014.”

Interact for Health , formerly The Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati, says it awards grants to support health promotion programs and works through education, advocacy and action to improve the quality of life for people in 20 counties.

HealthPoint is a health-care provider in Northern Kentucky.


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