Health-care group gets $2.5 million

Grant will be used to reduce debt, improve patient care

Helping out people needing health care the most got a little easier for one health center with a federal grant to help pay off its debt and mortgage.

Schenectady County officials announced on Wednesday, Nov. 17, Hometown Health would receive a $2.5 million grant from the New York State Department of Health, which will be used to pay-off loans taken out for the construction of the new facility at 1044 State St., Schenectady. The Federally Qualified Community Health Center can reduce its long-term debt from $4 million to $1.5 million with the grant, which is provided under the Health Care Efficiency and Affordability Law.

Hometown Health provides primary medical care and dental care to underserved populations in the County and has been in the community for nearly 40 years. The new 32,000- square-foot facility opened in 2005 and was a $5 million investment. Over 80 people are also employed at the center.

Hometown Health plays a major role in providing health care to nearly 20,000 Schenectady County residents each year, said Susan Savage in a statement. "We fought hard for this funding as it will play a major role in securing the future of this important health care facility."

Metroplex had lent Hometown Health $1.5 million for project, said Ray Gillen, chair of Metroplex. Out of the grant $500,000 will be paid to Metroplex leaving around $600,000 to be paid from the original loan. Federal loans and grants were also used to fund the investment.

Gillen said it is a win-win situation, because the center is able to focus more on funding patient care and Metroplex is able to take the payment and reinvest it back into the community through future projects.

"Any time we can reduce our expenses that is less money we have to pay out during the month and put into patient services," said Joseph Gambino, CEO of Hometown Health. "It makes a really big difference. Anything we can do to reduce our expenses we can put it back in services for our patients."

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