1st Choice Healthcare gets $3.6 million COVID grant

Healthcare provider receives over $3M

CORNING, Ark. (KAIT) - A Region 8 health center is receiving millions to help in the fight against COVID-19.

1st Choice Healthcare, based in Corning, will receive $3.6 million as part of the American Rescue Plan. CEO Brigitte McDonald says they’re focusing on getting as many people vaccinated as possible, focusing on smaller communities in rural areas.

She says 1st Choice is planning on adding a mobile unit, helping with getting COVID vaccines distributed to vulnerable populations.

And it won’t be solely for Clay County. McDonald says the grant will help each of the other counties 1st Choice Healthcare serves.

McDonald says the unit will be a game-changer for the center.

“We’re going to focus on trying to get those vaccinated that are not able to get to the areas where the vaccines are,” McDonald said. “And being able to get out into those communities that really need those services.”

McDonald says the unit could be finished before the end of the year, and it will be used for more than COVID vaccines. They’ll be able to use it on school sites, conducting physicals for athletes and for new students.

The grant will also be used to bring in extra help. McDonald says as a result of the grant, they’ll be able to hire more physicians.

1st Choice is one of 12 Arkansas health care centers on the receiving end of nearly $47 million distributed by the United States Department of Health and Human Services as part of the American Rescue Plan.

The plan is focused on “[expanding] health centers’ operational capacity during the pandemic and beyond, including modifying and improving physical infrastructure and adding mobile units,” while also targeting those most vulnerable to COVID-19.

East Arkansas Family Health Center, based in West Memphis, also received over $4 million as part of the plan.

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