FQHC status approved

Published 9:15 am Tuesday, August 16, 2011

For years, Gates County officials have actively sought Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) status.

That dream became a reality on Monday.

Albemarle Hospital Authority received notice of award for $544,667 from the Health Resources Services Administration for the FQHC for Gates, Chowan and Perquimans counties.  This grant, an ongoing award, will fund the provision of health care services for low income uninsured residents of all ages; services are provided on a sliding fee scale based on income and family size.

The grant will also fund Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker health care services.

Gateway Community Health Centers, Inc. is the name of the new FQHC.  Gateway CHC, Inc. will begin operating in three locations, including Gates County Medical Center, Gates County High School Adolescent Care Center, and the Tyner Community Care Clinic.

The funding infuses money into the Gates County Medical Center in Gatesville and Dr. Epps’ new dental office located on Medical Center Road. It allows both entities to see additional patients that previously could not afford the medical/dental services offered. In turn, that sets the table for both of those small businesses to increase the size of their staff, hopefully leading to more jobs for Gates County citizens.

The grant is considered renewable each year upon reapplication.

“This is an example of Gates County pursuing economic development by fostering and nurturing local entrepreneurs by helping them grow their existing businesses,” Gates County Manager Toby Chappell said.

“I would like to express my joy at this grant process coming to fruition,” said Graham Twine, Chairman of the Gates County Board of Commissioners. “Often times when we think of economic development we think of recruiting new businesses. However, this opportunity will help at least two existing businesses by ensuring those of limited means have access to primary, mental and dental care here in Gates County.”

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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