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Federal grant to help fund new southeast-side clinic

– The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will help fund a new clinic in southeast Fort Wayne.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced nearly $151 million in grant awards Thursday for health centers to establish “new access points.” The grants, funded by the much-maligned Affordable Care Act, include $325,000 for Neighborhood Health Clinics of Fort Wayne.

Mary Haupert, chief executive officer of Neighborhood Health Clinics, said the nonprofit organization and Parkview Health would collaborate on a clinic near Paulding and Hessen Cassel roads. Neighborhood Health Clinics, 1717 S. Calhoun St., provides medical and dental services to low-income and underserved residents.

Parkview Health will provide a building “that we can use and they will use,” Haupert said in a telephone interview. “They will be doing the building and then leasing the space to us.”

Parkview Health nurses and staff will operate community outreach programs at the site, said Eric Clabaugh, public information manager for the local hospital network.

Clabaugh said plans for the clinic have not been completed as they were contingent on the grant. Because the grant lasts through April 30 and “dictates rapid development” of the clinic, Clabaugh said, a formal announcement may come in four months.

He and Haupert each said the clinic could go into a newly constructed or an existing, renovated building.

“It could be either option,” Clabaugh said in an email. “That will be part of the discussion now that we know this can move forward.”

Haupert said the grant application was made about a year ago during discussions about a possible clinic that involved southeast-side residents and Mayor Tom Henry’s office. Southeast Fort Wayne is home to few medical facilities.

Henry spokesman John Perlich said in an email: “We took that request and communicated with health leaders to see what could be done. Mayor Henry is encouraged by the opportunity that will be available through this grant. It’s a win for residents and demonstrates a commitment by Parkview, NHC and the city as a whole to quality of life and making investments that will have a positive impact on the community.”

Neighborhood Health Clinics was among six health centers in Indiana to receive federal grants announced Thursday. The others are in Merrillville, Elkhart, Muncie, Indianapolis and Terre Haute.

“Indiana health centers are key partners in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and new health center sites will increase access to those who need it most,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Thursday in a statement.

This is the second grant related to the Affordable Care Act received by Neighborhood Health Clinics recently.

Health and Human Services awarded the organization nearly $174,000 in August to assist people with enrolling in private insurance plans offered through the federal insurance exchange.