Who/what is the Seward Community Health Center?
This is the second in a series of articles aimed to inform and educate the residents of Seward about the status of healthcare in Seward and efforts to improve access to quality care in the future.
The Community Health Center (CHC) program is focused on “community.” A requirement and core value of the program is that the governing board must be representative of the community it serves. At least 51 percent of CHC board members must be patients or parents of patients of the health center.
Seward is a home rule city and has responsibility for providing health care. The city is governed by a city council that is elected and not necessarily representative of the demographics of the city, or made up of people who are patients of the clinic.
So how can the city meet the governing board requirements of the CHC program? A Community Health Center run by a public agency can meet the governance requirements by establishing a co-applicant.
The co-applicant for the City of Seward is the Seward Community Health Center (SCHC). SCHC was established as a private non-profit legal entity in 2011. SCHC is not a public entity. It has a board of directors that meets all the CHC requirements. More than 50 percent of board members are patients of the existing primary care clinic. In addition, there are limits on the number of board members who earn their income from the health care industry. Ultimately there will be agreements between the City of Seward and SCHC which spell out the responsibilities of each entity in the administration of the CHC grant program.
At this time the City of Seward owns the primary care clinic that is managed by Providence. In the event that the city and the SCHC obtain CHC funding, the clinic will be managed by SCHC. In the meantime, there are a number of activities (both internal to the organization and external for the community as a whole) that must take place in order to become a funded site. SCHC is leading the efforts to complete those activities.
There is a work plan associated with the planning grant awarded by the CHC program. One of the first steps is a community needs assessment survey. Many of you have participated in a recent survey and meetings with community providers will take place over the summer. This information will be instrumental in helping to identify current areas of unmet need. This, along with the other planning grant activities will ensure that seward is ready to operate a Community Health Center when funding is announced.
Next article topic: What Does the Planning Grant Involve? Contact the Seward CHC board members at with questions or suggestions for future segments email@example.com.