Iowa City free clinic plans to use ARPA funds to expand current space and services

Published: Mar. 23, 2023 at 5:53 PM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - As COVID relief is set to run out for many over the next several months, the city of Iowa City is working to make sure those most affected by the pandemic can still get the basic care they need. During Tuesday night’s meeting, the city council unanimously approved $3 million in grants for two nonprofits. One place that will be receiving part of that funding is the Free Medical and Dental Clinic.

As you walk through the halls of the Free Medical and Dental Clinic in Iowa City, that statement becomes apparent. Major medical tools and equipment crowd their current space and offices are transformed into makeshift examination rooms.

“We are in desperate need of more space,” said Director Jennie Schmidt. “Making more room for acute and chronic care and administrative offices up on the main level.”

Not only will the ARPA funding likely give the employees more space, but it’s also going to help serve their growing clientele.

With Medicare expansions that came as a part of pandemic relief expected to expire in May, they’re certain demand will grow.

“We are at capacity with waiting lists for care for medical and dental. With dental, the list is up to one year long,” said Schmidt.

Councilor Megan Alter said that’s why this funding is on track to go to the free clinic.

“Rather than the emergency funds that happened during COVID just to keep things going along and keep getting services to people, this was really for us to have the opportunity to save the nonprofits,” said Alter.

Not only does the current location need more space, but it also needs basic maintenance.

“We are also going to use the funds to install an elevator so that we can operate on two levels,” said Schmidt. “Our current elevator is broken and it’s more efficient to replace it than fix it and convert our stairs to be ADA-compliant.”

$2 million of this ARPA funding is going to the Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County. They plan to create an early child education center, youth after-school programming and family and neighborhood support. This will all go into a neighborhood in Iowa City that has yet to be named.