Rural La. health facilities to expand

By James Minton
The Advocate

CLINTON, La. — Officials of a rural health-care organization signed documents Monday to obtain tax-credit financing for a new clinic that will be more than five times larger than its facility.

Primary Care Providers for a Healthy Feliciana operates RKM Primary Care in Clinton, five school-based clinics in East Feliciana Parish and a health clinic in Port Allen.

Located between the old and new lanes of La. 10 on the west HEALTHJUMP side of Clinton, the clinic operates in a 3,700-square-foot building, a smaller portable building for dental patients and a portable administrative building.

The new $4.9 million building will total 19,968 square feet and will be behind the clinic, architect Roy Hendrick said.

As a federally qualified health center, RKM offers primary care in the under-served rural area for all patients, including those without health insurance.

The initials are those of Dr. Richard K. Munson, who donated a building for the clinic's first location.

Chief Executive Officer Ginger Hunt said her group is the first federally qualified health center in Louisiana to use federal New Market Tax Credit funding for a capital project.

The organization also will receive state tax credit funding for the project, significantly lowering the cost of borrowing the capital.

The federal tax credits are worth 39 percent of a private investor's stake in the project, taken over a seven-year period, and the state tax break is worth 25 percent of an investment over three years, Hunt said.

The Legislature also put $1.9 million in a capital outlay appropriation, Hunt said.

New Orleans tax attorney Robert W. Nuzum said the Clinton project will pave the way for other health-care facilities in Louisiana to use New Market Tax Credit financing, which is available to nonprofit groups.

Nuzum also said he hopes state legislators will take note of the opportunities for tax-exempt entities that they created through the state tax credit program.

The building used as a clinic will be converted to a facility for mental-health care, while the dental clinic will be included in the new building, Hunt said.

Hendrick said Blount General Contractors was selected as the builder. The work is expected to take about 10 months.

The building will have 37 adult medical, pediatric and dental exam rooms, two interior courtyards and an ambulance entrance.

Copyright 2009 Capital City Press
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