By Gary Nelson
Senior staff writer
Last Thursday was a bright sunny day, but the weather wasn't the only reason for the sunshine, smiles and happiness.
Tennessee Health Commissioner Susan R. Cooper, MSN, RN came to Crossville Thursday to visit the Cumberland County Health Department and to present Cumberland County with a check for $4.5 million in funding from the United States Health Resources and Services Administration for construction of a new health department and clinic.
The funds were made available to the county through The Affordable Care Act Capital Development Grant which the county applied for last year.
"Cumberland County is a medically under-served area with a high percentage of uninsured residents. These funds will help to better serve our growing patient population in this community and surrounding areas, providing our clients with important and much needed health services," Tennessee Health Commissioner Susan R. Cooper said.
Joining Cooper were several Cumberland County commissioners and staff members of the health department as well as Gregg Ridley, field representative for 4th District Congressman Scott DeJarlais.
Cooper said many others in the state were qualified for the grant, but only one other county received a grant in addition to Cumberland.
"It's a rare occasion and I'm glad it worked out for Cumberland County," Cooper said. "I know the county government is committed to this project, too."
Just last week the Cumberland County Budget Committee approved a three-year capital outlay note not to exceed $475,000 toward the purchase of the land for the new facility. The county is committed to spending up to $1 million.
"This is a great day for our county and residents and I'm honored to be here and accept this for the people of Cumberland County," Cumberland County Mayor Kenneth Carey said.
The proposal for the new facility is to construct an environmentally sustainable facility built according to the United States Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification requirements. The new building will be approximately 30,000 square feet and will be at 1503 S. Main St.
Former County Mayor Brock Hill applied for the grant, which was made available through federal stimulus funds. The original application for the grant was denied, but after another round of funding became available, the county re-applied and was awarded the grant. The original grant application included listing property on Webb Ave. adjacent to the new library, but the Cumberland County Commission voted in November to change the proposed site to the Hwy. 127 S. location.
The site where the new facility will be built is on Hwy. 127 S. just north of the Physician's Associates facility.
Monday, the Cumberland County Commission voted unanimously to amend the general capital projects fund by $475,000 to purchase property for the new facility. Ninth District Commissioner Carmen Lynch moved to approve the amendment, supported by Mike Harvel, 7th District commissioner. The commission also approved issuance of three-year capital outlay notes for the land acquisition following a motion by Clyde Cramer, 9th District commissioner and supported by Terry Carter, 6th District commissioner. The motion was unanimously approved.
In related business, the commission also approved a budget amendment in the amount of $10,100 for the health department. The funds have been appropriated by the state to increase the scope and amount of home based health care visits. Harvel moved to accept the budget amendment, supported by Roy Turner, 7th District commissioner. The motion was unanimously approved.
The current location of the health department is 131 South Webb Ave. off Hayes St. As a federally qualified health center, the clinic provides primary care services to all patients regardless of ability to pay. The clinic is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information about the health department, to schedule an appointment, or inquire about the services offered, call 484-6196.
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Heather Mullinix also contributed to this report.