Nearly $12 million on the way to Montgomery. It's part of a huge federal outlay to health care clinics in 30 states. Mayor Todd Strange made the announcement Wednesday that the $12 million will be used to build the River Region Health Center replacing the aging Lister Hill center.
Pharmacy Technician Arline Kennedy has served patients at the Lister Hill Health Center for 31 years. Her reaction to the news of a new facility: "Oh, great!"
Plans to replace Lister Hill include a state of the art facility at the corner of Cherry and Putnam Streets on the Jackson Hospital campus. Leaders believe its proximity to the hospital will relieve some of the burden on emergency rooms. "Essentially they said we're dying," said Mayor Strange.
Right now, health care officials say too many rely on emergency rooms for basic care. The new facility will expand access to basic healthcare to the un-insured and the under-insured. The health center will serve 25,000 patients a year. Care includes everything from pediatrics to dental services. It's expected to open in two years; Kennedy's already counting down the days. She says, "It will improve the quality for the patients. We will be able to work and talk with them better. There is just no place to talk or do anything here."