The sun was shinning bright through the windows as health care and government officials gathered Thursday morning to break ground on the new Waukesha Community Health Center near downtown Waukesha.
Mayor Jeff Scrima welcomed the new clinic to the city, thanking those involved with bringing the project forward.
“ProHealth Care has been a wonderful neighbor to us here in the City of Waukesha,” Scrima said. "They have served our citizens to their best, with professionalism, with dignity and with ongoing pursuit of innovation, always asking the question how can they serve better.”
Waukesha County Dan Vrakas praised ProHealth Care’s work and welcomed the 16th Street Community Health Center to Waukesha.
“The true measure of any community is the compassion that it and they show for those less fortunate,” Vrakas said. “This beautiful facility, as we get underway with construction today, is going to do just that.”
From a news release from ProHealth Care:
The WCHC will be the third health center operated by Sixteenth Street. Services will be phased in over two to three years. When fully operational, the health center will have 10 medical provider teams and is expected to provide care for nearly 10,000 Waukesha residents. As a community health center, services will be available to all regardless of insurance status including low-income, uninsured and underinsured individuals. The scope of services will complement the health services already available in the area.
The project will involve renovating two existing buildings and tying them together with new construction. The health center is expected to be complete in summer of 2012.
The health center site is centrally located in downtown Waukesha. It is adjacent to the city bus terminal, providing easy access for those using public transit. The site also is adjacent to the Waukesha Family Practice Center, a clinic where medical residents now provide care for many underserved people. Care will be coordinated between the Family Practice Center, the WCHC and many other community organizations and physicians.
The need for a community health clinic was identified several years ago when areas of downtown Waukesha were designated by the state as medically underserved. The number of Waukesha residents covered by Medicaid has grown significantly, rising more than 116 percent since 2003. Local safety net providers have strained to meet the demand for services.
ProHealth officials also announced significant progress toward meeting their fund-raising goal for the new health center. The Waukesha Memorial Hospital Foundation has pledged $2.3 million to cover the purchase of the site and other initial expenses. So far, individual donors, foundations and corporations have committed more than $2 million to the project.
Sixteenth Street Community Health Center has also received a $2.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to pay for construction of the center.