[November 12, 2015] – U.S. Sen. Jack F. Reed, along with officials from Thundermist Health Center, announced on Tuesday a $1 million federal grant to expand the health center, hire six more primary care providers and offer increased access to care for residents.
U.S. Sen. Jack F. Reed, along with officials from Thundermist Health Center, announced on Tuesday a $1 million federal grant to expand the health center, hire six more primary care providers and offer increased access to care for residents.
Awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration Health Infrastructure Investment Program, the grant will allow Thundermist to add 19 exam rooms to the facility.
The grant also will allow Thundermist to serve an additional 4,400 patients with primary medical care and behavioral health care in a family medicine, patient-centered environment, according to a news release from Reed’s office.
The news release said that the Woonsocket community “faces a significant population of children, adults and seniors who are in need of care and lack sustained access to primary care services in their area.” It said that the wait time for non-urgent new patients at this Thundermist facility is several months long, with as many as 70 patients per week attempting to join the practice.
“This federal grant will be a strong shot in the arm for Thundermist as they work to meet the growing demand for quality, primary health care in their community. Expanding and improving access to care is critical for public health, and I commend Thundermist for their work to secure this federal funding to break down barriers to care for patients who need it most,” Reed said in a statement.
Chuck Jones, Thundermist Health Center CEO, said he is pleased to receive the grant. “Our existing building configuration does not allow us to adequately address the growing demand for services in the Woonsocket community. The advent of the Affordable Care Act and the resulting increase in the number of insured patients has significantly expanded our need for additional space and staff to serve our patients. We look forward to the opportunity to extend the high quality care we provide to so many residents of northern Rhode Island, to all who need us,” Jones said.
The need for more primary care providers is not unique to Woonsocket.
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, by 2025, there will be a shortage of up to 90,000 physicians nationally, and approximately one-third of the shortage, up to 31,100, will be in primary care.