Sunday, November 12, 2000

Hamilton health clinic nearer

Mercy hospital group offers site

By Earnest Winston
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — The on-again, off-again plans for a new community health clinic are back on.

        Organizers say the health clinic will be located in the old St. Mary's Rectory on High Street.

        Plans stalled this summer when an anonymous donor withdrew an offer to pay for construction because organizers had failed to secure money to operate the clinic.

        The clinic, expected to open in spring or summer 2001, is needed to meet the health needs of low-income residents who forgo medical treatment or turn to area hospital emergency rooms for routine ailments, said Dave Ferrell, president of Mercy Hospital Hamil- ton.

        The 1,500-square-foot facility, owned by Mercy Health Partners, could cost up to $60,000 to renovate as a clinic. It will be located next door to the future home of Mercy Franciscan at St. Raphael Social Service Center.

        Organizers looked at nine sites before deciding on a location.

        “We considered several different locations throughout the city, and this was the most affordable option,” said Jim Kingsbury, senior vice president at Fort Hamilton Hospital.

        Vaughn Lewis, director of Hamilton's Human Relations Department, said the facility is centrally located in the city, is on the bus route and has plenty of parking.

        City health officials have had a difficult time trying to meet the needs of the community since the Joseph Center and the Henry A. Long Family Practice Center — which were run by the nonprofit Lincoln Heights HealthCare Connection — closed in May 1999 because of money problems.

        The city-run East Avenue Clinic gets 4,000 to 5,000 visits by people seeking treatment a year.

        Fort Hamilton Hospital, Mercy Hospital Hamilton, Butler County commissioners and Hamilton City Council, among others, have said they would help pay the operating costs.


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