$3.5 Million Grant Will Completely Renovate CVCHC

Published 4:30 pm Tuesday, October 12, 2010

NEW CANTON – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Friday that Central Virginia Health Services (CVHS) is receiving $3.5 million to renovate its Central Virginia Community Health Center (CVCHC) facility in New Canton.

CVHS CEO, Rod Manifold, said the renovation work, which is funded as part of the Affordable Care Act, will proceed in 14 phases and be completed in less than two years.

When the work is done, Manifold said during a Friday conference call, the facility will “look just like new.”

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CVCHC, one of 14 sites in the CVHS system, served over 7,200 patients and had over 25,000 patient visits last year.

“And we expect that to expand,” Manifold said, reflecting on the impact of the work that will also increase and improve services to patients.

“We're going to completely renovate and refurbish the existing facility and add a fairly large addition to the building to provide additional space” for a variety health needs, he said.

Fifth District Representative Tom Perriello also participated in the conference call and said that “for all of the rhetoric” about health care reform “the heart and soul of reform was accessibility and affordability and the community health center system has been a huge positive for Buckingham and the rural counties in our district.”

The congressman said that he has visited 12 of the 14 CVHS sites and “they work miracles every day. They are a major access point” for health care in rural Virginia.

The funding and what it will mean to CVCHC and those it serves, Rep. Perriello said, “is a very big deal…This is a great day.”

Manifold said that some of the construction/renovation phases will take a month to complete, others three to four months. The work areas will be sealed off from the rest of CVHC, which will continue providing health care during the renovation process.

The CVCHC building is several generations old, most of it built in the 1970s, Manifold noted, “so it is getting up there in age.”

From age to cutting edge, the new additions will have solar panels, according to Rep. Perriello, which will lower heating costs over the long-term.

Among those additions will be a fitness/wellness center and also expanded waiting rooms to allow for more privacy between patients and doctors, who sometimes must use the lobby for such conversations now, according to Manifold, who said the expanded waiting rooms will make the process “much more efficient with much more confidentiality.”

A much needed addition that shouldn't have to wait is a new mammography machine that will provide digital images that can be electronically sent to UVA for reading, to replace the old analog machine and its analog images which needed to be mailed or hand-delivered to UVA.

CVCHC's pharmacy, which has filled over 400 prescriptions a day, will also be expanded.

In a press release, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius stated that “there is no question that the economic downturn has made it harder for some Americans to get health care and important preventive services. Community Health Centers provide quality healthcare services to Americans across the country but are a life-line for those who have lost coverage or are in between jobs.

“These funds from the Affordable Care Act will help get more people care in some communities where there have not been many options in the past,” Secretary Sebelius continued. “The newly constructed or expanded community health centers will provide care to an additional 745,000 patients (nationwide) and much need employment opportunities in both rural and urban underserved communities.”

Also in on Friday's conference call was Dr. Mary K. Wakefield, administrator of HHS' Health Resources and Services Administration, and she noted that many of the community centers, as is the case with CVCHC, need more modern space to meet increasing patient demand and to provide the best care possible to more people in need.

A totally enthused Manifold, noting CVCHC had already laid out plans for the phasing of the work, said, “we're off and running.”

The grant carries a two-year maximum to accomplish the work. “I assume from today,” Manifold said Friday. So his prediction of completing the work in less than two years is practical as well as positive.

As additions or renovations are completed, meanwhile, those areas will be open and used to provide health care to the area's residents.

A next generation building for future generations.