Submitted by Megan Barton
Family Health Centers
CHICAGO – The Healthy Futures Fund—a first-of-its-kind collaboration to support accessible health care and affordable housing in low-income communities—has made its initial investment in a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), helping finance the construction of a new clinic in the underserved rural community of Omak.
The facility is being developed by Family Health Centers (FHC), a county-wide health system offering primary medical, dental and pharmacy services, in north-central Washington. FHC is a critical resource in this area, serving more than 30 percent of residents in a county where poverty is nearly double the state rate. The new clinic replaces FHC’s outdated health center in the neighboring town of Okanogan. It will quadruple space for medical services and double the size of the existing pharmacy, helping the FHC system expand to more than 70,000 patient visits per year.
“FHC’s mission is to provide access to high-quality, affordable health care services regardless of race, income, or insurance status, and this investment will help to strengthen the area’s health care delivery system,” said Mike Hassing, CEO. “By locating our new clinic next door to Confluence Health Omak Clinic and Okanogan Behavioral Healthcare, we’re creating a ‘health care campus’ with a full range of services located immediately next to each other. “
The Healthy Futures Fund, co-founded by LISC, The Kresge Foundation and Morgan Stanley, invests in projects that finance new multifamily housing with on-site health services, new community health centers that serve nearby low-income housing residents, and supportive services that help connect the two. In this case, the Fund is tapping more than $6.6 million in New Markets Tax Credits (NMTCs) from the National Development Council (NDC), with capital provided by Morgan Stanley and The Kresge Foundation. All three are partners in the fund’s $100 million initial round of project investments and long-time supporters of efforts to revitalize low-income communities.
“In an area where a high percentage of the population lives below the poverty level, the new construction of the Family Health Center in Omak will substantially improve patients’ access to medical care,” said Robert W. Davenport, President of National Development Council. “NDC is proud to be a partner in this Healthy Futures Fund project that will bring jobs and health care to an area in need.”
“Reliable health care is a critical ingredient for long-term economic prosperity,” said Audrey Choi, Head of Global Sustainable Finance at Morgan Stanley. “The Healthy Futures Fund is driving capital to areas that are in serious need of accessible, quality health care facilities. The Fund’s investments to date, spanning three states, show that private capital, philanthropy and public programs can be harnessed in powerful ways to increase and expand the availability of vital services.”
“For Kresge, investing in the Fund is a way to help reduce health disparities and improve health outcomes,” said Kimberlee Cornett, who directs Kresge’s Social Investment Practice. “Such investments allow the foundation to expand beyond grant-making and put more of its endowment to work. We’re using multiple tools all aimed at creating opportunity for people who have faced disadvantage.”
The FHC’s Omak health center is the first of up to eight health center investments that are expected to be made during the course of 2014 to help meet the needs of residents who do not currently have reasonable access to primary care.