Business is booming at Frederiksted Health Care, with its brand new Christiansted clinic already seeing thousands and record numbers at its other outlets, its management said during budget hearings Tuesday.
To help meet the growing demand for health care, the clinic expanded last year into a second location in Christiansted, which is now up and operating at full capacity, according to Executive Director Masserae Sprauve Webster.
FHC began offering services at their new satellite in March, Webster told the Finance Committee. "With only four months of operations, this site has served 1,200 patients visits thus far. We have already outgrown our parking lot and we are presently exploring options for parking at this site," she said.
Since 2007, FHC’s patient visits have doubled, from 9,250 in Fiscal Year 2007 to 20,062 in FY13, according to Webster.
"We believe there are several factors that contributed to this increase but the most influential factors that have contributed to our growth are … high quality service," she said.
The clinic also expects to see continued growth next year. While the clinic is doing well, there is a bottle neck in its dentistry program, which is the only public dentistry program on St. Croix, Webster said.
With only one full-time and two part-time dentists, the waiting list has more than 1,000 patients, she said, adding that "many have difficulty understanding this but, when one realizes that there are approximately 7,500 patients with Medicaid who can only access oral health care at FHC, one can begin to understand the picture.”
She said, “Further compounding this issue is the fact that there are approximately 18,000 uninsured individuals on the island of St. Croix."
Frederiksted Health Care operates the Frederiksted Health Center, the St. Croix Educational Complex school-based health center, the Frederiksted Health Care Dental East site and, most recently, the Frederiksted Northshore Health Center. It was before the Senate Finance Committee to discuss its Fiscal Year 2014 General Fund budget request of $1.99 million – unchanged from last year.
Along with the local appropriation, FHC expects $1.7 million in federal funding and $2.1 million in program funding from its own fees for services, for a total projected FY15 budget of $5.76 million.
Wages and salaries consume $2.8 million of that, while employer contributions for Social Security Medicare and benefits total $833,000. "Other services and charges" consumes $1.42 million. Supplies take up another $380,000. Utilities are budgeted at $330,000.
No votes were taken at the information gathering budget hearing.