HOUSE COMMITTEE APPROVES FUNDS FOR AREA HEALTH, EDUCATION, SOCIAL SERVICE PROGRAMS
WASHINGTON – The House Appropriations Committee Wednesday approved $3 million in funding requested by Congressman Jerry Lewis for nine Inland Empire health, education and social service programs projects as part of the Fiscal Year 2008 spending bill on health and human services and education. The bill is expected to be on the House floor next week.
Among the programs approved for grants in the bill are family health centers, after-school care for needy children, English-learning, nurse education, medical technology and prevention of domestic violence, Lewis said. The programs will serve hundreds of thousands of people in the two counties.
“Our two counties are experiencing some of the most explosive growth rates in the nation, and these grants will help these wonderful local programs deal with the growing pains that come with such rapid population increases,” said Lewis, the senior Republican member of the House Appropriations Committee. “These modest investments of federal dollars will help ensure that these services can meet the demand into the future.”
The Committee agreed to provide $500,000 toward construction of a community health center in Banning. The center will provide health services to a growing population of low-income, uninsured adults, families and seniors in the Banning/Beaumont region of Riverside County. The estimated total project cost is $3 million.
Inland Behavioral & Health Services, which will open the new center, is a Federally Qualified Health Center operating as a private, non-profit, community-based organization providing comprehensive primary health care and support services to low-income and indigent citizens of the Inland Empire. The organization was founded in 1976, and the main clinic is located in downtown San Bernardino. The project is in direct response to the President’s National Health Center Initiative, with the goal of expanding primary health care services to serve 6 million more people.
The WestCare Foundation has been approved to receive $500,000 to expand its successful Batters Intervention Program in Needles, where it will serve a tri-state area. The program focuses on coping strategies for the children of families with domestic abuse. WestCare will partner with the Center for Disease Control’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control in its efforts to develop a nationally recognized model for preventing Intimate Partner Violence. The total project cost is $2.5 million over five years.
Also approved was $500,000 to help St. Mary’s Medical Center in the Town of Apple Valley create an Electronic Intensive Care Unit (eICU). The eICU will allow St. Mary’s to connect with other remote hospitals in California to share intensive care doctors. The system, currently implemented in 25 other hospitals, has proven effective at reducing mortality by more than 25%. The total first year cost of the project is $1.38 million. St. Mary’s will contribute the rest of the funds through Foundation fundraising and from the Capital and Operating Budget.
St. Bernardine Medical Center in San Bernardino has been approved for a $200,000 grant towards construction of a Radiology Special Procedures Room for angiography and other vascular interventions. It will replace equipment that is 18 years old and prone to failure. The total project cost is $1.6 million. St. Bernardine is a non-profit medical center serving one of the most densely impoverished areas in Southern California.
The committee also approved a number of grants requested by Congressman Lewis for education programs in the Inland Empire:
- $250,000 for the San Bernardino County Museum to complete its creation of new exhibition space and upgrade the care of its collections. The museum has been very successful in using past federal grants and $6.4 million in local funds to create the Hall of Geologic Wonders and provide on-line access to its trove of regional artifacts and historical information. The current funding would help create Web Module Technology presentations, an Earthquake park exhibition, and Santa Ana and Mojave River Watershed interpretative projects.
- $250,000 for an English Learners Program through the San Bernardino City Unified School District. The district plans to recruit 50 Teacher/Coaches for EL students and Bilingual Outreach Workers for EL coaches who will provide training to teachers of EL at each school site, K-12. The program will also facilitate parental involvement in these programs. More than a quarter of the district’s students are non-English speaking, and the entire Inland Empire has struggled to provide English-language training to meet demand. This investment will contribute to national goals of encouraging assimilation by immigrants.
- $300,000 for the Alliance for Education Program – Project Lead the Way, sponsored by the San Bernardino County Schools. Partnering with 1,400 local colleges, business and community groups, the program is intended to increase the number of students seeking careers in mathematics, science, technology and engineering. The Inland Empire currently has one of the lowest rates of high school graduates seeking science degrees in college.
- $400,000 to Azusa Pacific University to launch a regional nursing program at the San Bernardino campus. By 2008, it is projected that another 450,000 nurses may be needed to meet the demand, which will be most acute in rapidly growing areas like San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. Local hospitals have agreed to help underwrite this urgently-needed training program, as well as provide clinical sites to support it. This program has received congressional approval for the past three years.
- $100,000 to We CARE San Jacinto, a non-profit faith-based group providing after-school programs that target middle school and high school students who are at risk of gang involvement. The San Jacinto Assembly of God church provides the programs under contract with San Jacinto School District.