La Comunidad scores a $150,000 grant

Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Michael Wolf, front, visits La Comunidad Hispana in Kennett Square Thursday. La Comuidad received a $150,000 grant from the Department of Health to expand its neonatal program. Pictured center is Sen. Domenic Pileggi, and at back is Doug Nakashima, director of the Kennett Area YMCA. Photo by Fran Maye

KENNETT SQUARE – Michael Wolf, secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Health, toured La Comunidad Hispana Thursday afternoon after the non-profit organization was awarded a $150,000 grant to expand its neonatal program.

“It’s great to see the good work being done in this community,” Wolf said. “It’s nice to see how this money is being used. Prenatal care is very important.”

La Comunidad, which in 2012 received the designation of a federally qualified health center, provides health and social services for low-income residents, mainly Hispanics, in southern Chester County.

“The funding will help us increase the number of pregnant women served and keep them in care after pregnancy,” said Alisa Jones, chief operating officer at La Comunidad. “The funding we get is critically important.”

Sen. Domenic Pileggi accompanied Wolf on the tour, and said he was impressed by the services offered at La Comunidad.

“Eighty women will be impacted positively by this grant,” Pileggi said. “Equally important is that it’s an endorsement of the work that’s done here at this facility and it allows them to expand on their services. Having (Wolf) here gives him a first-hand look at the kind of work behind done here and the quality of the services they offer.”

Rebecca Bixby, medical director at La Comunidad, said the grant will also be used to assist women with family planning.

“We do a lot of pregnancy testing,” she said. “We are picking up women coming in to start (birth control) methods and the funds help us to do that. We have negotiated relationships with hospitals and collaborating physicians with other providers to provide specialty care.”

Last year, La Comunidad provided general primary care and related health care services to more than 2,700 low-income, medically underserved people. Currently, 91 percent of the health center’s clients are Hispanic, 67 percent are women, 89 percent are between 19 and 64 years old and 98 percent have incomes less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

“(La Comunidad) has a real track record of success and community support,” Pileggi said. “The fact that the grant was given to this faculty affirms that and allows services to expand. Hopefully, this is the first of many grants to come to this facility.”

About the Author

Fran Maye

Fran Maye is an award-winning journalist and a graduate of Shippensburg University. He and his wife Marianne live in East Marlborough. He enjoys golf and is a 4.0 tennis player. Reach the author at kennettpaper@gmail.com or follow Fran on Twitter: @kennettpaper.