Lee Health Awarded $3.2 Million to Address Health Disparities in the CommunityPress Releases
(Fort Myers, Fla. – Oct. 8, 2021) --- The U.S. Health Resource Services Administration (HRSA) has awarded Lee Health $3.2 million to fund efforts by Lee Community Healthcare to address health disparities in our community.
Created by Lee Health, Lee Community Healthcare is a community health center that provides primary medical care to the medically uninsured and economically distressed residents of Southwest Florida. Lee Community Healthcare has four family medicine offices located in Dunbar, North Fort Myers, Cape Coral and Lehigh Acres, two women’s health offices located in East and South Fort Myers, six pediatric primary care offices located in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Lehigh Acres, Bonita Springs and Port Charlotte, and one behavioral health office located in Fort Myers.
The funds from the HRSA grant will be used over the next two years for several initiatives, including:
- Help fund salaries and benefits for staffing of the planned expansion of the Dunbar Lee Community Healthcare office;
- Establish a mobile medicine program in partnership with a local organization;
- Create six telemedicine “hubs” in facilities serving underserved communities; and
- Streamline the referral process for smoking cessation services for Lee Community Healthcare patients.
“This grant is going to have a huge impact on our region,” said Dr. Larry Antonucci, Lee Health’s president and chief executive officer. “At Lee Health, we are doing so much work with health disparities in underserved communities, and this funding from HRSA will allow us to grow our services even more in these communities that need care.”
The planned expansion at the Dunbar clinic will provide additional primary care and behavioral health services to the community through renovation of space and the addition of fourteen full-time employees, which includes family practice physicians, a psychologist, a licensed clinical social worker, advanced practitioners, medical assistants and other key positions.
Additionally, the mobile medicine program, which will be funded through the grant, will include an established mobile medical unit to be used for COVID-19 testing, vaccinations and primary care.
“We are committed to advancing health and wellness in the communities we serve, and through these HRSA funds, we will work to bolster the programs and services we provide to the underserved communities in our region,” said Dr. Antonucci.
Lee Health is dedicated to providing access to care.
Last November, Lee Health announced the release of the 2020 Community Health Needs Assessment, a systematic data-driven report that studies the health status, behaviors and needs of people living in Lee County. This assessment helps to identify health disparities and develop implementation strategies to best promote optimal health for local residents.
In April, Lee Health’s Board of Directors approved the Community Health Needs Assessment Implementation Strategy and will begin executing the 2020-2023 plan, based on the needs identified in the Community Health Needs Assessment Report.