(Washington, D.C.) - U.S. Senator Patty Murray today announced that the federal Department of Health and Human Services has awarded a $478,958 grant to Sea Mar Community Health Centers/Clinica de la Comunidad. The funds will be used to create a new health center in Thurston County to serve residents who have no other access to health care. The new clinic will provide a range of medical services to 4,000-6,000 patients within its first year.
"I am pleased to announce that help is on the way to provide vital, comprehensive health care services to low-income working families in Thurston County and surrounding communities," said Murray. "Since many working families in Thurston County can't afford health insurance, this grant will help provide a wide range of health care services to these families including preventive health care and 'urgent medical' facilities."
The grant is authorized under the federal Community Health Centers program, which currently funds about 83 care centers in Washington state. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Murray has worked with her colleagues to increase funding for health care for the uninsured by more than $200 million during the past three years.
Mary Bartolo, deputy director of Sea Mar Community Health Centers, said, "This grant will enable us to hire two additional physicians and two dentists to provide care to uninsured, underinsured and low-income individuals in the county where there is a shortage of access to primary health care services. All medical services will be provided in both English and Spanish."
Also today, Senator Murray was honored by the National Association of Community Health Centers and the Washington Association of Community and Migrant Health Centers (WACMHC) with a "2001 Community Health Center Defenders" Award. Gloria Rodriguez, CEO of WACMHC, said the award recognizes Senator Murray's "outstanding efforts during the second session of the 106th Congress to protect and strengthen community health centers and the patients they serve." Murray received the award in her Washington, D.C. office from representatives of health care centers in Washington state.