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Doug Jones announces $200,000 grant for New Site medical complex

U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, announced Wednesday a new $200,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission to establish the New Site Medical Complex in New Site, Alabama. This grant will provide funding for a 3,120 square-foot building housing a primary care clinic and private pharmacy. The tenants will include Russell Medical and Jackson Drugs.

“Health care facilities are the lifeblood of our rural communities,” Jones said. “Not only do they provide much-needed access to care, but they are powerful economic drivers, as well. I’m proud that my team and I were able to partner with the community to put them in the best position possible to secure this funding. This grant is great news for the people of New Site and Tallapoosa County.”

In 2018, Jones sent a letter of support to ARC urging their full consideration of the New Site project.

“I would like to personally thank Senator Jones for his assistance in getting our ARC grant application approved,” said New Site Mayor Phil Blasingame. “The $200,000 grant will help us fund a building for our clinic and pharmacy for our community. The project will really improve our rural healthcare for our citizens. Senator Jones was instrumental in getting the grant application in the correct order for approval and he has been a big supporter for rural health care initiatives. Senator Jones helped make this possible.”

The goal of the project is to address the employment and economic disparities in Tallapoosa County. Tallapoosa County was adversely impacted by the decline of the textile industry. The town of New Site will provide $288,725 in local matching funds in addition to the ARC funds, bringing the total project funding to $488,725.

Jones has taken a number of actions to increase quality, affordable health, as well as to improve health care in rural Alabama, including introducing legislation to incentivize Alabama to expand Medicaid, successfully making the case to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to change the unfair Medicare wage index, which disproportionately hurts Alabama’s financially strained hospitals, introducing bipartisan legislation to improve rural health care delivery and cosponsoring a bipartisan bill to improve access to rural health care for new and expecting moms.

In February, Jones received the National Rural Health Association’s 2019 Rural Health Champion Award for his efforts to expand access to quality care in rural America.

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Jones and his staff also worked with New Site leaders to help rewrite their application in an effort to make the city more competitive for the grant money.

Currently, the closest source of medical care for New Site residents is 15 miles away in Alexander City, presenting a barrier to those seeking accessible health care.

Jones is a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in a special election in 2017. He is running for re-election in 2020.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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