Matsu Valley Frontiersman: $930K for local health center

WASILLA — Nearly a million dollars worth of grants are headed to a local community health center to help combat depression. In a conference call Monday, Mat-Su Health Services announced it had received $465,000 from the Social Innovation Fund of the Corporations for National and Community Service. Another $465,000 came in grants from nonprofits, including the Rasmuson Foundation.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who announced the Social Innovation Fund grant, said that the money will go to help fund start-up costs for the program, which will provide care for all ages, including low-income patients.

She described it as “important in our state where we suffer from the highest rates of suicide.”

She had high praise for the health center.

“What Mat-Su Health Services has been doing historically is certainly to be applauded,” she said. “That their good work is being recognized outside the state is really quite special.”

Wendy Spencer, who administers the Social Innovation Fund, said that Mat-Su Health Services is one of numerous projects that affect 174,000 people in 37 states and have received grants through the fund.

“This fund targets proven solutions,” she said. The money will flow from the Social Innovation Fund to the John A. Hartford Foundation, and then on to MSHS. The Hartford Foundation, according to a press release announcing the award, works to reduce health care costs and “increase employment income of those affected by depression.”

“We’re so proud to make this award to Mat-Su Health Services,” said the foundation’s Wally Patawaran.

Mat-Su Health Services Chief Executive Officer Kevin Munson said he is pleased his organization has received the funding.

He said the money “will provide us that ability to continue and to further our goal to integrate care at point of care and to provide highly effective solutions to individuals in our community who suffer from depression.”

Mat-Su Health Services is located on Spruce Drive and has been in operation in the Valley since 1977. It offers family medical care and behavioral health care.


Source: By Andrew Wellner