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South Side health center receives federal grant for renovation


A Des Moines-based community health center has received a $499,178 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as part of funding aimed at improving community health centers across the country.

Primary Health Care Inc., which operates offices in Des Moines and Marshalltown, will use the immediate facility improvement grant to renovate the Engebretsen Clinic, located at 2353 S.E. 14th St., the oldest clinic Primary Health operates.

Primary Health Care will add a ninth dental examination room to the clinic and will convert a room that was used to house hard-copy medical records into a care management space for the clinic’s health coach and care coordinator. The clinic will also move some exam rooms and a nurses’ station to improve workflow, allowing the clinic to treat more patients.

Kelly Huntsman, executive director of Primary Health Care, said the additional dental exam room will allow dental assistants and dentists more efficient scheduling. Huntsman said, conservatively, the clinic hopes to boost dental visits by 500 a year with the changes.

The nonprofit community health center primarily serves uninsured or underinsured clients throughout Greater Des Moines, handling 90,000 visits a year. Huntsman said 50 percent of the patients who use the clinic’s services are uninsured.

The Department of Health and Human Services distributed $728 million Monday for improvement and construction projects at 398 clinics across the country.

Along with Primary Health Care, three other centers in Iowa received immediate facility improvement grants: $38,750 for Community Health Center, Inc., in Davenport; $260,053 for Crescent Community Health Center, in Dubuque; and $483,500 for Community Health Centers of Southern Iowa Inc., in Leon. River Hills Community Health Center, in Ottumwa, was also awarded $5 million and Siouxland Community Health Center, in Sioux City, was awarded $1.3 million through building capacity grants.


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