County Health Department Receives Grant, Plans to Expand Hours
The Alachua County Health Department was awarded a state grant Thursday, and the money will be used to expand department hours.
The department will receive $750,000 annually for three years, and staff are already planning how to best use the money, said Jean Munden, Alachua County Health Department administrator.
Besides expanding hours, health department employees hope to use the grant for diabetic education and for helping people find 'medical homes,' or primary care providers.
The grant will also be used to assist people who may be eligible for financial assistance and for emergency room diversion, which decreases the amount of people who visit the ER with common illnesses, Munden said.
The grant, which was awarded by the Florida Department of Health, was open and competitive.
The county applied for the state grant last year, but it didn't receive any money.
The reason was that more people applied last year, Munden said, and this year's proposal was better written. The partnership between the health department and Shands Healthcare also improved their chances of receiving the grant.
Shands CEO Tim Goldfarb hoped that the department would receive the grant because of the upcoming closure of Shands AGH, Munden said.
She said health department staff are looking forward to having additional hours to serve Alachua County residents, and they plan to start these services by the middle of September.
The Alachua County Health Department main location will stay open seven days a week, and the satellite office will stay open past 5 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays.
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