Area clinic receives $500,000-plus funding
For more than 30 years, the Western Sierra Medical Clinic has been the only nonprofit health-care organization in western Sierra County designed to help anyone, including those who do not have health insurance.
“We’ve been needing grant funds to keep us going, but we really needed a program that would stabilize the clinic,” said Frank Lang, one of the clinic’s nurse practitioners and executive director of the clinic.
Like most nonprofit corporations, the clinic has struggled with funding. However, on May 25, Federal Health and Human Services Department Secretary Mike Leavitt announced that the clinic would receive more than $500,000 annually as part of President Bush’s Community Health Centers Initiative.
“The funding received by the Western Sierra Medical Clinic is really designed to put funding into these organizations that take care of those who don’t have any health insurance,” said Speranza Avram, executive director of the Northern Sierra Rural Health Network. “It’s very competitive to get that funding, and the fact that they got it is impressive. I think the quality of their services and dedication to the community over the past 30 years is really a testament to their quality.”
Not only has the clinic provided top notch quality care for the area, it has also been a vital resource for many in the community.
“We see roughly about 6,000 patients a year,” Lang said. “That number includes all of the dental, medical, hospice and house care we give.” Lang is hopeful that the grant will help improve some of the current difficult conditions of the clinic.
“Right now, I am one of two nurse practitioners, and we also have a physician’s assistant,” Lang said. “So, there are only three of us who provide care 24 hours.”
With the aid of the Sierra County Board of Supervisors and the Northern Sierra Health Network, the clinic is looking toward a brighter and more stable future with its new grant.
“Our goal is to try to combine the various clinics in the gold country corridor to work together to provide health care in a more efficient way,” Lang said.
To contact Staff Writer Lindsey Croft, e-mail email@example.com or call 477-4247.
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