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The terrible destruction from the 2011 tornados and flooding in the US Midwest and South magnified the challenges for many Americans already struggling to access health care. As part of a targeted response to this crisis, AmeriCares, through its 2011 U.S. Disaster Recovery Grants initiative, has awarded four grants totaling $188,225 to restore and expand crucial health care services in disaster-stricken Missouri and Mississippi. “The health services enhancement and restoration grants ensure that children, seniors, and uninsured/underinsured families affected by disaster will have access to medical and dental care during the next 12 months,” said AmeriCares emergency response manager, Garrett Ingoglia. Restoring Pediatric Dental Care: Joplin, MOA devastating May 22 tornado destroyed 13 dental offices in Joplin, creating a critical gap in services. This need has been addressed in part by a $48,473 grant to Access Family Care. The grant enables the clinic to provide rehabilitative dental services to an estimated 2,000 children, covering the cost of equipment, office space and one year of operating expenses. AmeriCares also awarded an $8,942 grant to the clinic to install electric power to a donated x-ray machine for the dental facility.“I was shocked by the almost complete destruction of Joplin’s health care infrastructure,” said Ingoglia. “The tornado destroyed the city’s largest hospital, as well as the majority of dentist and physicians offices clustered near the hospital. It will take months and even years before they are fully repaired.”Expanding Women’s Health Services: Joplin, MOThe closure of so many damaged health facilities in Joplin caused a dramatic rise in demand at the Women’s Health Clinic run by the Economic Security Corporation (ESC). At the same time, the loss of area jobs made it extremely difficult for patients to afford even the discounted fees the clinic charges. To meet these challenges, the ESC received a $40,810 AmeriCares grant to expand women’s health services, by hiring a nursing assistant to see more patients in the next 12 months, offering vouchers for free medical procedures to 40 patients, and providing transportation vouchers to 40 patients who lost access to their own transportation.
Photo by Debbie MorelloExtending Operations for Safety Net Clinic: St. Joseph, MOAmeriCares awarded a $60,000 grant to the Social Welfare Board in St. Joseph, Missouri to enable the free clinic to continue operating despite revenue loss as a result of Missouri River flooding. Without the funding, the clinic would have faced the possibility of closing its doors for several weeks. Now it will be able to continue providing primary medical and dental care, serving an estimated 1,910 patients.Clinic Recovery and Continuity of Care: Smithville, MSAccess Family Health Services in Smithville, MS sustained severe tornado damage last April, and received an AmeriCares grant of $30,000 that enabled the clinic to continue treating patients in a temporary facility immediately following the disaster. The clinic is currently conducting a capitol campaign to raise funds for construction that doubles their clinic space – expanding their capacity to treat people in need. In the meantime, AmeriCares awarded a $27,000 grant to fund the temporary facility for nine more months, enabling the clinic to continue operations and treat an estimated 7,200 patients.To help communities across America recover from massive tornadoes, storms, and flood-related devastation, AmeriCares launched its U.S. Disaster Recovery Grants initiative, and has awarded more than $600,000 in grants supporting medical care for the uninsured, mental health services and preparedness for future disasters. Read MoreDonate Now