Evers Announces $ 250 Million Funding for Health Care and Neighborhood Initiatives in Wisconsin | WUWM 89.7 FM
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers visited Racine on Tuesday to announce $ 250 million in new state grant programs funded by the Federal Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Congress passed the measure earlier this year.
Communities can apply to the Wisconsin administration department for $ 200 million in neighborhood investment funds. Evers said the money can go to things like innovation centers for the workforce and entrepreneurs, affordable housing, transit and childcare solutions, and the development of ‘public spaces – especially for underserved people.
The remaining $ 50 million in grants will be available for health care infrastructure, including new buildings. Evers said the hope is to reduce disparities in care.
“For too many people, access to affordable care, compassionate providers or an accessible clinic remains elusive. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic further underscores the health disparities and gaps in access to health care that many Wisconsin residents face, ”Evers said.
Evers spoke at the soon to be opened Racine community health center, a small facility inside a primary school. Racine mayor Cory Mason said he expects the city to ask for some of the state’s money as he said his community of around 77,000 was the largest of the Midwest without a federally accredited health center (FQHC).
He explained how the state-controlled money could help create a bigger, federally-approved clinic: “There is an application period where you can have what is called a similar clinic where you operate like a clinic and build your capacity to run a clinic. It helps you score and qualify for that FQHC designation, ”Mason told WUWM.
Mason said tens of thousands of low-income people in Racine could visit a federally-supported clinic.
And, he said he wanted to keep people out of a hospital. “The service is now an emergency room. And it’s not good for everyone. It’s the most expensive and least efficient way to treat people. So what we want to do is is helping provide a medical home, ”Mason said.
Evers said he has yet to announce his intention to pay several hundred million dollars in ARPA funds to the state.