Health Center receives $76K grant

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ARLINGTON — Battenkill Valley Health Center has been awarded just over $76,000 in quality improvement grant funding in a move center officials say will help continue their work improving access to quality care.

The center received $76,110 in Quality Improvement grant awards earlier this week from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, part of $125 million in such awards given to 1,352 community health centers across the United States and its territories. The centers use these funds to continue to improve the quality, efficiency and effectiveness of care delivery in the communities they serve, according to a press release from the HHS.

This funding helps BVHC to keep expanding quality programs, said Kayla Davis, project manager for BVHC.

“Because it is supplemental, we didn’t include this in our budget,” she said. “So it allows us to take on quality improvement projects that we wouldn’t be able to do.”

BVHC officials will be developing a plan to use the funds to help expand access to care, she said.

Although the dollars received from the grant award don’t go directly into patient care, they’re used to help optimize systems and help information flow smoothly, said Anje Van Berckelaer, clinical director of BVHC.

“So that the time our patients spend with their provider is really directed at [taking care]of them,” she said.

BVHC also received National Quality Leaders designation, which is given to community health centers that exceed national quality benchmarks, Davis said.

The center also received Quality Improvement grant awards in Fiscal Years 2015, 2016 and 2017, she said.

In 2017, approximately 1 in 12 U.S. residents relied on a health center supported by the federal Health Resources & Services Administration for primary care, including one in five rural residents, one in three people living in poverty, and one in nine children 17 years old or younger, according to the release.

BVHC, which accepts insured, uninsured and under-insured patients, is located in a medically underserved area, Davis said.

“Right now, our patient load is manageable,” she said. “But there is definitely a need in the region.”

Center leaders are planning to add another family practice physician. In 2017, dental services were added, and in July 2018, the center expanded its mental health and substance abuse services under another grant, Davis said.

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