The federally qualified health center, which has provided medical services to residents lacking health insurance since 1981, will finance the expansion with a $5 million grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration.
Jeffrey Taylor, Oakhurst CEO, said the capital development grant will fund a new, 27,000-square-foot facility that will double the size of its existing 13,500-square-foot facility on Village Drive in Stone Mountain.
“This is the biggest expansion for Oakhurst for the last 31 years,” Taylor said. “It expands on our strong commitment to serve the underserved in DeKalb County.”
The new facility will be built at 5582 Memorial Drive in Stone Mountain, near the Tupac Shakur Performing Arts Center. Oakhurst will demolish the existing building on the property to build the new accommodations. Taylor said the new facility should open by fall 2013 and it will help Oakhurst increase capacity 50 percent to 75 percent within the next two years.
“This will improve access to health care and reduce emergency room visits,” he said.
Oakhurst also operates health centers on Candler Road and at Covington and Memorial Drive in Decatur. It provides family medicine, pediatrics and ob/gyn services to more than 14,000 adults and children annually. A fourth center is scheduled to open in Conyers in the fall.
With the larger Stone Mountain facility and the opening of the Conyers health center, Taylor says Oakhurst will be serving 20,000 clients annually by 2015. Its staff of 15 full- and part-time doctors and nurses is expected to double by that time.
Oakhurst is one of 171 community health centers that received $728 million for 398 renovation and building projects from the Affordable Care Act in May.
The grants will help build and expand health centers, create jobs, and expand access to an additional 860,000 patients.
Oakhurst is one of only two centers in Georgia to get a grant this year.
The 2010 Census shows that the five central and south DeKalb ZIP codes – in Stone Mountain, Tucker and Clarkston – targeted by Oakhurst for the grant have 62,000 residents lacking health insurance coverage.
Nationally, the grants will extend access to health care to an additional 860,000 patients.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who announced the grants, said that “President Obama’s health care law is strengthening community health centers.”
“For many Americans, community health centers are the major source of care that ranges from prevention to treatment of chronic diseases. This investment will expand our ability to provide high-quality care to millions of people while supporting good paying jobs in communities across the country.”