First in Print: Capitol City Family Health Center undergoes construction in Donaldsonville

Allison B. Hudson

Capital City Family Health Center started construction work at their site located on Catalpa Street early last week.

“We are extremely excited about opening the clinic in the Donaldsonville area.  We believe that all citizens deserve access to quality, affordable and comprehensive health care services. CCFHC looks forward to working with the community stakeholders to make the community health center a huge success!” stated Chief Executive Officer Rhonda Litt.

Capitol City Family Health Center (CCFHC) is a 501c3, private non-profit corporation with its main site in the mid-city Baton Rouge area. CCFHC is one of twenty-five grantees and 82 primary care delivery sites statewide.  CCFHC is a HRSA/BPHC federally designated Public Health Service Act 330e grantee (commonly referred to as a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC)).  FQHCs are expected to provide a wide range of primary care services including medical, dental, behavioral health and other ancillary services.  They accept Medicaid, Medicare, and Most Private Insurances and offer a sliding fee scale for the uninsured. FQHCs usually receive federal grants to subsidize the care for the uninsured. The CCFHC Donaldsonville site did not receive a grant this past funding cycle.

The projected construction site will be complete in spring of 2012 and opening to the community in the summer of 2012.

CCFHC is submitting this request for New Access Point funding to support establishing a satellite health center in Donaldsonville, Louisiana.  The Donaldsonville satellite is approximately 40 miles from CCFHC’s current health center in Baton Rouge.  Unlike the urban center of Baton Rouge, the target population of Donaldsonville is a rural community with approximately 7,600 residents.  Donaldsonville is located within the service area of Ascension Parish Ascension Parish lies adjacent to East Baton Rouge Parish to the southeast, and is often considered one of the five river parishes.  These parishes encompass the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Region, rich in history and unique cultural identity.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to increase health care delivery in the Donaldsonville area.  CCFHC systems stands ready to deliver high quality, affordable health care to the local area,” said CCFHC Board President Terrence Lockett.

CCFHC Donaldsonville community health center service area is Ascension Parish, serving the target population of the City of Donaldsonville, please see Figure 1: Service and Target Population Map.   Ascension Parish is comprised of three incorporated towns including the City of Donaldsonville, City of Gonzalez, and the Town of Sorrento, however Donaldsonville is the only incorporated city on the west side of the Mississippi which poses a barrier for its residents.  There are also a number of unincorporated towns, 39 within Parish limits.  Donaldsonville serves as the Parish Seat, though Gonzalez is slightly larger with around 8,650 residents (2000 Census.  Ascension Parish and Donaldsonville both have higher than average population under age 5 years old, indicating that the population in Ascension Parish is younger than the State’s overall population.

Ascension Parish has seen unparalleled population growth, when compared to other Parishes in Louisiana.  Between 2000 and 2006, Ascension Parish grew 27.2%, following closely by only Livingston Parish (25.5%), followed then by St. Tammany Parish (16.8%).  In 2000, the population was estimated at 76,627, and in 2006 there were 97,478 persons living in Ascension Parish.  While the State of Louisiana population has decreased approximately 4%, Ascension Parish’s population burgeoned unlike any other area in the State.

Table 1: Target Population, Service Area and State Characteristics

                                                Donaldsonville            Ascension Parish            Louisiana

Population                                    7,605                                    98,799                                    4,492,076

% Individuals in Poverty            34.8 %                                    10.9%                                    18.5%

%African American                        69.1%                                    21.2%                                    12.3%

%White                                    29.8%                                    75.3%                                    74.3%

%Hispanic                                    1.1%                                    3.7%                                    3.7%

%65 years or greater                        12.2%                                    8.2%                                    12.1%

%5 years or younger                        8.6%                                    8.3%                                    6.9%

Source: US Census Bureau, ACS 2006-2008 (Ascension Parish and Louisiana) & 2000 Census* (Donaldsonville) Retrieved from www.census.gov on November 21, 2010.