Several community health clinics in Washington are planning renovations that will be paid for in part with $19.2 million in grants provided under the federal health-care law.

Share story

WASHINGTON — The cramped 45th Street Medical & Dental Clinic in Wallingford will be renovated, the Greenwood Medical Clinic could double in size and the Columbia Health Center will get a remodel and extra exam rooms.

Those are among the projects that will be paid for in part with $19.2 million in grants to community health clinics in Washington state announced by the Obama administration Tuesday.

The grants are part of $728 million awarded around the nation with money earmarked under the 2010 Affordable Care Act to bolster community clinics, which are private and public health centers that serve low-income and uninsured patients.

The Washington state grants — the second and final batch of money for capital projects and improvements — will go to a dozen organizations, including Community Health Center of Snohomish County in Everett and Healthpoint in Renton.

Some $31.9 million was awarded to clinics in the state in October 2010.

Mark Secord, chief executive of Neighborcare Health in Seattle, said the investments in community clinics directly support a major tenet of the health-care law, to shift medicine to more cost-effective primary and preventive care.

“This kind of federal support to community clinics is extremely important,” Secord said.

The Supreme Court is to issue a ruling this year on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that all Americans carry health coverage starting in 2014. Despite that uncertainty, Secord said, many provisions of the law are being implemented to benefit patients.

Neighborcare operates seven medical and five dental clinics, the largest network in the Seattle area. It received $5 million to expand its Greenwood clinic, which it leases from Swedish Medical Center for $1 a year.

Neighborcare also was awarded $500,000 to renovate its Wallingford clinic, which has a tiny pharmacy and awkward corridors, and violates codes under the Americans with Disability Act.

Public Health — Seattle & King County received $498,500 for interior remodel at its Columbia clinic in South Seattle. Spokesman James Apa said that among other things, the health center will get additional exam rooms and space and equipment to install an electronic health-records system.

Kyung Song: 202-662-7455 or ksong@seattletimes.com