Kagman residents won't need to drive to the Commonwealth Health Center in Garapan for their healthcare needs when the much awaited Kagman Community Health Center opens on Oct. 1.
Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. official and other government officials yesterday showed Kagman residents the future site of the health center-the old detention facility in Kagman II.
The health center will be run and operated entirely by a seven-member board of directors, all residing in the area.
The CNMI was recently awarded $608,333 in start up funds for the health center by the Health Resources and Services Administration. The grant requires an in-kind matching fund from the healthcare corporation such as staff and supplies.
In a briefing yesterday at the center's future site, corporation CEO Juan N. Babauta emphasized that the corporation will serve as a partner to the center, which will function as an independent agency with its own governing board, CEO, chief financial officer, and administrative assistant.
He said the former Department of Public Health and the health center's board have been applying for the grant since 2003 but was unsuccessful until it finally got approved this year.
Babauta congratulated each member of the board, health officials and staff, and certain lawmakers who were instrumental in the grant award.
Babauta said two things need to be accomplished during the initial phase of the project: the renovation of the facility and the appointment of key staff. Also, under the grant agreement, the center has to be up and running within 120 days, or on Oct. 1.
Babauta expressed confidence in meeting these prime requirements.
He also acknowledged the support of Gov. Benigno R. Fitial, who was at yesterday's event.
Fitial said he is very happy that Kagman residents are getting something that they really need. Any project that will help the welfare of the people, Fitial said, is a welcome development for his administration.
A wellness center
Public Health director Roxanne Diaz said the Kagman Community Health Center will serve as a wellness, prevention, and primary care center. Among the services that will be offered at the site are women's health, pediatric health, dental and mental services, NCDs, and others.
Besides the estimated 4,000 Kagman residents, the new center will also benefit residents from other places as its operations will not be restricted to Kagman residents, she said.
Medicare and Medicaid patients will also be served at the facility, she said, including other patients with other insurance carriers.
Diaz urged all Kagman residents to take ownership of the health center and keep the facility and its environment clean at all times.
Also present in yesterday's occasion were Arielle Buyum, who wrote the grant application for the project, Bureau of Environmental Health director John Tagabuel, corporation board members Roy Rios and Jack Torres, former deputy secretary Esther Muna, Reps. Frederick Deleon Guerrero and Ramon Basa, KCHC board members led by chair James Lizama, and hospital and health division personnel.