In 2021, the Kenosha Community Health Center (KCHC) applied for the competitive Healthcare Infrastructure Capital Investment Grant administered by the Department of Administration on behalf of the State of Wisconsin. The proposed capital project was submitted with the support of local and state officials to serve as a pilot site for an innovative, evidence-based care model targeted to address health disparities and improve overall community health. The grant awarded to KCHC was the fifth highest in the field of twenty-three recipients.
“The Kenosha Community Health Center is on the front line providing medical, dental, and behavioral health to community members in Kenosha County. Receiving this grant allows us to expand partnerships, resources, and services and widen our reach; ultimately creating a greater impact. This is a HUGE win for the Health Center and the entire community,” stated Board President, Tamarra Coleman.
The unique design of the facility will support integrated primary medical, dental, and behavioral services and the workflows of a multidisciplinary team to deliver care in a true, health home model. Services will include wrap-around non-medical services to address social needs that may prevent individuals from accessing needed medical, dental, behavioral health care, and the support of a pharmacist to help obtain medications.
The capital project includes the purchase and renovation of the former Herzing University, located at 4006 Washington Road, a facility strategically located along a qualified census tract and proximal to a homeless shelter, public high school, and housing developments. KCHC will redesign healthcare services in a non-traditional manner and rebrand them under a new name. The cost for the proposed project was $5.92 million and was completely funded by the grant.
KCHC is a free-standing, Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) established in 1995 to provide primary healthcare services to nearly 17,000 residents in Kenosha, Racine, and Walworth Counties. The mission of the non-profit organization is to offer accessible, comprehensive primary medical, dental, and behavioral care.
KCHC has evolved from a single location to the multiple sites and mobile care services offered today. As an FQHC, KCHC receives funds from the HRSA Health Center Program to provide primary care services in underserved areas. KCHC is required to meet stringent requirements, including providing care on a sliding fee scale based on ability to pay and operating under a governing board that includes patients.
The new healthcare facility will increase the capacity of KCHC by approximately 39,000 visits annually, expanding access to healthcare services. Additional medical, dental, and behavioral health providers will be recruited to staff the site. “The new facility will be distinctly different from the other KCHC sites in its design and staffing, offering all services in an integrated fashion to allow patients to see one or more types of providers at the same visit,” stated CEO Mary Ouimet. “We will be unveiling details about the new center name, program, and services in the weeks and months ahead.”
The business growth strategies attached to the launch of the new model are designed to move new patients to the center by direct referral and collaboration with community-based organizations. The strategies also include intensive community outreach and direct marketing to neighborhoods and agencies surrounding the health center, and developing partnerships with small and mid-sized employers to identify workers and their families in need of healthcare services.
The ongoing operations of the project will be self-sustaining through normal KCHC operations as a federally qualified health center.