The Bay Health Foundation awarded $400,000 in grants to ten community-based health care agencies during a Monday luncheon at Bay Medical Center.
The foundation oversees the lease of the hospital, manages the employee pension fund and supports charities that provide health services.
Among the recipients was the St. Andrew Community Medical Center which serves about 3,000 patients who have no insurance and can't afford health care. The clinic no longer receives funding from local governments. "This grant is really lifesaving to our clinic," said Dr. Curtis Williams, the center's medical director. "Otherwise, we would have to severely reduce our services to the indigent."
To qualify for a grant, an agency must submit an application, financial statements and a list of donors. Each also gets an on-site visit by members of the foundation's grant committee. "Every one we gave money to is really in dire straits because the state and federal governments have cut back so much," said Don Connor, foundation chairman.
"There's always a funding issue," said Jean Warner, coordinator of the Bay County Council on Aging's Respite Center. "We have state funding and federal funding but there's never enough."
Warner said the $25,000 grant awarded to the council will be used to maintain the center's program that provides day care to about 50 senior citizens suffering from dementia. "It will probably make a big difference for at least twenty clients in any given year," she said.
Another recipient was Bay Cares, an organization of doctors that donate time and services to low income patients. "In 2011, twenty-five million dollars worth of services was provided to the community," said Dr. Kamel Elzawahry.
The grants were funded with proceeds from the 2012 lease of Bay Medical to Sacred Heart Health System/LHP Hospital Group. Beginning in 2014, grants will come from interest earned on foundation investments.
The recipients of 2013 grants were: