December 18, 2014

Non-profit health center displaying new areas during National Health Center Week

By Tim Barnum|News Editor
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STERLING — The Sterling Area Health Center (SAHC), a not-for-profit physician’s clinic, is inviting the public to come in and take a look at its new, larger patient waiting room, additional exam rooms and renovated lobby on Aug. 10, as a part of National Health Center Week (Aug. 9-15).

SAHC Chief Executive Officer Roger Rushlow says 4,000 square feet of new construction and renovation will be on display.

“Essentially, what we added was an extended (patient) waiting area and a revamped lobby and office area,” Rushlow said. “We also put on a wing in the rear of the building that included an additional six exam rooms.

He added the wing added on has a lab area, nurses’ office and a physician’s office, which is the working area for family practice physician, Dr. John Urban.

Rushlow says the addition and renovations cost roughly $1 million, which was secured by the SAHC Board of Directors through a low-interest loan.

The open house begins on Monday at 3 p.m. Rushlow says elected officials will be on hand at the ceremony.

SAHC puts stimulus money to use

Funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that were allocated to the SAHC are helping pay for the center’s after hours operations.

Rushlow says $185,000 was allotted to the center to assist in expenses for its twice-weekly after hours service, currently offered Mondays and Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

“It’s only two days right now, because we’re recruiting an additional physician’s assistant,” Rushlow said. “Once we get the PA on board, we’ll extend that to six or seven days a week.

“There’s no similar access in the whole county like that (after hours). A lot of people end up going to the emergency room, which frankly, is the most expensive [option].”

But on the federal stimulus front, SAHC has gotten more good news.

Rushlow says $482,000 is also being paid to the center over two years for what he called “capital bricks and mortar projects.

“We’re going to be building a free-standing building here on the grounds that will house out mental health staff and administrative staff,” he said, adding it will be an approximately 3,000 square foot structure and serve as the operating center for staff psychiatrists and counselors, as well as directors, etc.

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