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Door May be Open for Another Community Health Care Center in North Dakota

October 13, 2008

Bismarck, ND – Before leaving Washington, D.C., this month, Congress approved the "Health Care Safety Net Act." It's good news for North Dakotans with little or no health insurance, because it will keep the state's twelve Community Health Care Centers open.

Karen Larson, with the Community Heath Care Association of the Dakotas says thousands of North Dakota residents depend on the centers. Grant money could be available soon to expand them, or perhaps add a location in an underserved area, she adds, and Bismarck is one possible site for a new facility.

"We are hoping there will be a release before too long of some opportunities for new communities or new sites to be opened, so that we can reach more underserved, uninsured and underinsured people. There is a group of people exploring whether perhaps a health center might be appropriate here, but it's just in the exploratory stages right now."

Larson says Congress' reauthorization might also allow some existing North Dakota centers to expand their services to include mental health care and dental care. For many parts of the state, she notes, Community Health Care Centers provide the only medical care available.

To find a Community Health Care Center in your area, see the Web site

Dick Layman/Steve Powers, Public News Service - ND