In 2021, Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) released capital funding opportunities under the American Rescue Plan (ARP) specifically for Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) based on their unique patient population. Hidalgo Medical Services (HMS) qualified for $697,520 with an approved project application. HMS reviewed capital project opportunities and applied to HRSA to use the funding to purchase two new clinics to replace the current aging facilities. The first clinic will be in Animas, NM, on the campus of the Animas School District. The current primary care clinic in Animas is located within a classroom on the campus. The second clinic will be placed in Mimbres, NM, on the same lot where the La Tienda De Sol store is currently located. HMS is thankful for the current and historical partnership and support of the Animas School District administration, Mr. Loren Cushman, the School District Board, and Hans Jaeggi, La Tienda De Sol store owner.
The process from initial HRSA application to opening the new clinic is very extensive and time-consuming, according to Dr. Dan Otero, HMS' CEO. In addition to submitting a project proposal summary and budget, each location required an Environmental Review and Cultural Affairs Historical Preservation land assessment. HMS was required to obtain approval on multiple requirements prior to beginning the construction of the two modular-type clinics. Although construction of the clinics is near completion, site preparation, including infrastructure and utility access, is underway and must be completed before delivery and setup of the clinic buildings.
Once the buildings are delivered and set up, the process of the State Department of Health licensing and site credentialing must be completed prior to using the facilities. Dr. Otero stated that the project's total cost is estimated to be approximately $714,052, of which HMS is contributing a minimum of $34,532 to complete the project. We expect this budgeted amount to increase secondary to the increasing costs of materials, labor, and general startup costs secondary to the current economic environment. Carmen Acosta, HMS Board Chairwoman, commented that the HMS Board of Directors is extremely proud to be supporting these new clinics as part of the organization's commitment to providing healthcare services in the most rural locations of both Hidalgo and Grant counties.
According to Dr. Otero, HMS hopes to have the Animas clinic open for services this summer, soon followed by the opening of the Mimbres clinic in early Fall. "We are thankful to all of our HMS providers and staff who work hard every day to support frontier healthcare services in these rural locations," stated Dr. Otero.