Clinic Receives Funding to Operate Through May

By Beacon Staff

Despite potential federal budget cuts, the Flathead Community Health Center will continue operating for several months.

The Bureau of Primary Health Care has extended funding to the Kalispell clinic through May 31 as it waits for federal lawmakers to negotiate a budget, according to Wendy Doely, the Kalispell clinic’s executive director.

The Flathead Community Health Center currently operates with funding contained in the federal stimulus. If the budget passed by the U.S. House remains unchanged, the reduction in funding, as well as cuts for family planning services, would force the Health Center to shut its doors.

But as the Senate takes up the budget, Doely hopes to get the Kalispell clinic included in the general appropriation that funds all community health centers.

“We would be a real community health center, not a stimulus-funded community health center,” Doely said.

In the weeks since the potential closure of the Flathead Community Health Center has been publicized, Doely said its medical workers have been receiving positive feedback on the role the clinic plays in the valley. On Thursday at the Gateway Community Center a rally, sponsored by the Community Health Center’s board of directors, was held encouraging residents to contact Montana’s federal delegation to urge continued funding.

“We know that the existence of the center in the community is very, very important to a lot of people,” Doely said. “I’m pretty optimistic that we’re going to get funded.”

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