stimulus watch: sheriff's department, $13,929; road commission, $274,000; sterling area health center, $169,965

Health center approved for stimulus funds


STERLING — The Sterling Area Health Center (SAHC) is the latest county interest to benefit from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, commonly called the economic stimulus package, which was passed in mid-February. The SAHC was approved for $169,965.

“It’s essentially going to allow us to expand services by adding after hours at the clinic,” said SAHC Chief Executive Officer Roger Rushlow, adding the after hours will run Monday through Friday, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. “It’ll be a walk-in situation.”

The SAHC currently only offers after hours services on Tuesdays.

Following President Barack Obama’s call for job creation through the stimulus, SAHC will add new personnel to man the extended hours.

“We’re going to hire a physician’s assistant to staff those hours,” Rushlow said. He added a licenses practical nurse and three medical assistants would also be hired with stimulus aid, creating a total of five jobs in the area.

“Really the first thing we need to do is hire that physician’s assistant,” the CEO said. “I suspect we’ll get a few good candidates in the next 30 days.”

Rushlow added the after hours services will be implemented in approximately 60 days.

Prior to the stimulus approval, which Rushlow says will be disbursed over the next two years, Rushlow said the SAHC wasn’t experiencing fiscal issues from the economic downturn.

“We’ve been pretty stable,” he said. “We haven’t experienced any layoffs or anything like that.”

However, he says some SAHC patients have shown signs of the troubled times.

“We’ve been seeing more patients without insurance,” Rushlow said.

Also, Rushlow says more federal funds may be approved for SAHC. He says a teleconference for health center CEO’s is being held today, April 1, on capital funding that health centers can apply for and use for equipment, construction and information technology updates.


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