Richmond Clinic to Become Federally Qualified Health Center
July 6, 2012 -- Staff at the Oregon Health and Science University's Richmond Clinic has just learned that the clinic will receive a two-year, $650,000 per year grant award, enabling them to provide care to 4,000 more low-income patients and offer more than 15,000 additional visits – and build on the services to include more dental and mental healthcare.
Its executive director, Erwin Teuber, PhD, told The Lund Report the expansion should bring the clinic's total service area population to about 75,000 people – or 16 percent of those living at or below 100 percent of federal poverty level income guidelines.
The grant will also enable OHSU to open a new walk-in clinic at S.E. 43rd and Division – just a few blocks away from the current Richmond Clinic site. Teuber hopes that this new clinic can open in early October, with the aim of expanding the mental and behavioral health services already provided to low- income patients.
The Richmond Clinic has been an “FQHC lookalike” for several years, and has been working on procuring FQHC grant funds since before Teuber started working there five years ago.
In addition to expanding on mental and behavioral healthcare, Teuber said the clinic intends to expand its dental health services.
“There is just so much unmet need, demand for restorative dental care that it’s almost unbelievable,” Teuber said.
The grant funding will also enable the clinic to hire additional support staff, two more primary care physicians, two more nurse practitioners or physician assistants and the clinic may expand its staffing hours for registered nurses and pharmacy staff, and hire an eligibility specialist and social worker. Dental services will be provided under contracts with local providers.
Many of the Richmond Clinic's patients are low-income, uninsured people, Teuber said, who often lack a primary care provider and rely on the emergency room for medical care. News of the FQHC award means the clinic – which can only accept so many new patients per month – can expand its patient roster, hopefully reducing costs while it helps more people.
“It's been a desire to expand our capacity to meet the demand that’s out here,” Teuber said. “For a long time, we’ve had to close the door to new patients. Each month, we allow so many new patients to come in and after that we close the door. We would like to not have to do that as much.”