Federal stimulus funds to support new clinic in Cottonwood

VVN/Jon Hutchinson<br>
Right field location of new Community Health Services Building funded with a stimulus grant.

VVN/Jon Hutchinson<br> Right field location of new Community Health Services Building funded with a stimulus grant.

COTTONWOOD -- A new 6,500-square-foot Community Health Services clinic is coming to Cottonwood, thanks, in part, to a federal stimulus grant. In fact, the Yavapai County Health Department and the Prescott Free Clinic, which are partners in the Yavapai Community Health Service operations, have been trying to work out plans to build a new clinic in Cottonwood.

Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick said, "Rural Arizonans are being underserved by our current health care system and this sort of investment helps us reduce our costs and improve our quality of care."

Kirkpatrick announced Monday that the Yavapai County facility would receive $585,160 in stimulus funds. That will be matched with the same amount from each of the other two partners, equaling $1.7 million for the construction.

The Yavapai County partnership is unique in Arizona in that it is the only government with a non-profit health clinic partner. It is the 501C3 clinic that qualifies as a federally qualified for the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant. Because of the unusual partnership, Yavapai is the only Arizona county that had this type of grant opportunity.

"This grant expands upon that partnership. It is the best situation. It leverages the free clinic and the county investments," says Peggy Nies, the Yavapai County Community Health Services director.

Nies says the new facility will be built "at right field." That is right field of the former Herridge Field between the county administrative center and the Cottonwood Library. The actual Herridge Field has now been moved to Riverfront Park with the park's expansion and a land swap between the city and county at the former site.

The Community Health Services clinic in Cottonwood has been located in a 50-year-old renovated Cottonwood library building that was sold to the county and occupied by the health department in 2004. The Public Health division, which has also shares the 2,500-square-foot space, will remain and expand into that building with its WIC program, Environmental Health, and Public Health nurse.

When the new construction is complete, it will include both the Community Health Services that have been in the old building, including a second doctor and nurse practitioner full-time.

The building will also house the new dental services that were added in 2008 and are now offered from a rented dental clinic office on Willard Street.

As of July, the dental service has been seeing clients four days a week. That will go to five days when the new clinic is opened.

Neis says, "The clinic is now seeing 400 patients a month. We would have had to lease something else. We didn't know how that was going to happen. We were even looking at mobile units."

The first step is to go out for architectural and construction bidding. Under ARRA, the facility must be completed within 2 months. It is expected to be opened by 2011.

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