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Patrick Springer, Published August 21 2012

Otto Bremer Foundation gives $294K to health care center

FARGO – The drive to build a new Family HealthCare Center to serve the uninsured and under insured recently got a boost with a check for almost $300,000.

The donation by the Otto Bremer Foundation of $294,649 will help launch a new optometry clinic and provide general support for the capital campaign.

The new $15.5 million center, a downtown renovation project at 301 NP Ave., is expected to open in October.

Once open, the expanded facility will have more room and will allow all services to be under one roof, including mental and dental services, lab and X-ray, homeless health services, medical interpreters, and patient education and wellness.

Brian Hagen, president of Bremer Bank’s Fargo region, which includes 17 branch locations, said the Family HealthCare Center serves an important role in delivering medical care to the area.

“The health care center does so much for the community,” he said. “They provide a lot of preventative care, which is so needed in any community.”

As he presented an enlarged replica of the check on Monday, pledged in January, Hagen told the center’s director, Patricia Patrón: “Thank you for your help. We plan to be here many more times.”

Meanwhile, a “dollar for dollar” matching grant from Dakota Medical Foundation that allows donors to double their money continues until Sept. 1.

The campaign has a goal of raising $250,000, enough for a pod of examination rooms.

“We’re still short,” said Denise Peterson, the Family HealthCare Center’s development director. “We hope to get some more contributions.”

Crews are working to complete the renovation of several buildings, including the former Richtman’s Printing building, with a goal of completing construction in September, Patrón said.

The added space will allow 18 more clinical positions, enabling the center to expand its service population from 12,000 unique patients to 17,000.

Between 25 and 40 percent of the clinic’s patients lack health insurance, a problem that is especially acute for adult males because public insurance programs target mothers and children.

The clinic serves a large area of southeastern North Dakota and western South Dakota.

Some patients travel as far as 200 miles for medical or dental care.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Patrick Springer at (701) 241-5522

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