News

Oct 14, 2010

First Choice Los Lunas Awarded $8.1 million


October 11, 2010 -- First Choice Community Healthcare in Los Lunas was awarded an $8.1 million grant to replace its aging health center with a new facility that will provide medical, dental and behavioral health care service to the community.

First Choice was chosen by the US Health and Human Services Department to receive one of 143 grants for health centers across the country as part of health care reform.

“With this new facility, we are tripling our capacity to provide care in a region that has struggled with access to quality care. This grant will not only create jobs in the construction process, but also greatly grow our full-time staff upon completion, with the majority of those jobs being filled locally," said Bob DeFelice, CEO of First Choice Community Healthcare.

Los Lunas will get a new 22,000 square-foot health and regional dental center, modeled after the South Valley Health Commons in Albuquerque. This will provide space for 8 additional providers and will serve an additional 5,000 new patients.  Los Lunas has experienced a 31 percent increase in patients since 2006.

In addition, the Belen First Choice Health Center will be able to expand medical services when its dental program moves to the new state-of-the-art dental facility in Los Lunas. The new regional dental center will have 10 dental chairs and provide approximately 6,500 dental services per year.

Construction is expected to start in early 2011 and will provide about 70 construction jobs. The new Los Lunas Family Health Commons would open 11 months after the project is bid. Health care services at the existing site, on Highway 314, would continue until the new facility is opened.

The building is to be located in the Village of Los Lunas Center and will meet new environmental standards and maximize use of daylight. It will feature all new equipment and furnishings. It will replace the 4800 square foot, 25-year-old modular building which has been over-crowded for years.

 The Los Lunas Health Center serves all of Valencia County and patients from southern Bernalillo County and parts of Socorro County.

 “The proposed relocated/new site will enable First Choice Community Healthcare to fulfill its mission to provide comprehensive health care services, improve access and better meet the needs of this Health Professional Shortage Area. The existing facility lacks adequate capacity to meet the rapidly increasing demand for services and space for essential services, such as dental and behavioral health.” 

The federal grant does not provide funding for payroll, staffing or any business operations – only construction. DeFelice says First Choice will have to pay staff by billing insurance companies, Medicaid and patients, who may qualify for reduced fees based on income.

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