Canton Repository

April 9, 2005

Canton Community Clinic will receive $600,000 federal grant

By Paul M. Krawzak
Copley News Service

WASHINGTON — The Canton Community Clinic is expected to receive a federal grant of about $600,000 to expand its services when U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt visits the facility Monday.

Eric Riley, director of the free clinic, said the money would enable the facility for low-income residents to triple the number of patients it serves. Last year, the clinic had about 3,000 patient visits.

“We feel that over the past 12 years through our clinic we have proven that we are capable of providing quality and accessible health care to our citizens, and we look forward to stepping it up a notch,” he said.

The clinic on Canton’s east side offers an array of medical and dental care. While the facility accepts Medicaid, Medicare and other forms of insurance, services are free to those who are unable to pay.

The clinic is among 105 facilities that are to receive a total of $64 million in federal grants as part of President Bush’s 3-year-old effort to increase the number of free clinics across the nation, Health and Human Services spokeswoman Patricia Conrad said.

She said the grant to the Canton clinic would be about $600,000.

Riley anticipates the clinic will win designation as a federally qualified health center, something sought for three years to make the facility eligible for certain federal funds.

Rep. Ralph Regula, R-Bethlehem Township, plans to join Leavitt for the announcement.

Regula has been supportive of the clinic, Riley said. As chairman of an appropriations subcommittee that allocates funds for federal health spending, Regula exercises influence at the Department of Health and Human Services. Regula was unavailable to discuss the event.

The majority of doctors, dentists and others who work at the clinic volunteer their time. Riley said the federal money would enable the facility to increase paid staff to 12 to 15 from two current full-time positions.

The clinic’s budget is about $320,000, with $251,000 provided by the city of Canton in the form of federal Community Development Block Grant funds, he said. The clinic also receives donations.