Mat Su Health Services Gains ACA Grant

 The Health Resources and Services Administration announced the awards on Monday, as part of the 295 million dollars in Affordable Care Act funds that is being distributed to more than 11 hundred health centers throughout the United States.  HRSA is an agency within the federal Health and Human Services Administration.

 Mat Su Health Services received more than 197 thousand dollars.  CEO Kevin Munson says the grant will enable expansion of primary care services.

 “Well, we are a community health center, so we are already funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration, and we will be using those additional funds to hire additional staff to expand our hours. “

 Munson says more staff will translate to evening availability.

“We’ll be looking to hire a half time practitioner, probably a mid -level physician’s assistant or family nurse practitioner, and then we’ll also be hiring some additional support staff to enable us to extend our hours, and we will be also be hiring a mental health clinician who will be working in our primary care clinic.”

 Munson says the funding opportunity was offered by HRSA based on how many patients the clinic sees that are uninsured or underinsured. Mat Su Health Services has been serving the area since the 1970s, starting as a community mental health center. In 2005, the facility became a primary care clinic

 “So we have been operating as a primary care clinic with a sliding discount and access for all people in the community now for a little over nine years. And we certainly have seen and experienced the significant growth in the community, which has been clicking along for a little over 4 percent a year for better than a decade. So we provide a wide variety of essentially primary health care services to the entire community with a target focused on the uninsured and the underinsured. “

 Munson says some of his staff are dedicated to helping people sign up for the federal health care subsidy under the Affordable Care Act.

 HRSA secretary Sylvia Burwell announced the awards, saying the funds overall are expected to create close to 5, 000 new jobs, and to help health clinics to reach about 1 point 5 million new patients.