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Affinia Healthcare to bring much-needed health care services to north St. Louis County

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Chad Davis
St. Louis Public Radio
U.S. Rep. Cori Bush and Affinia Healthcare President and CEO Dr. Alan O. Freeman said Wednesday that the Affinia center in Ferguson will be an important community asset. It will include family medical, pediatric, dental care and behavioral health services.

Affinia Healthcare will start construction soon on a 15,000-square-foot health center in Ferguson, thanks in part to a $2 million federal grant. The center will be located on Pershall Road, adjacent to the Emerson YMCA.

The comprehensive health center will include family medical, obstetric, pediatric, dental care and behavioral health services. It will provide more health care options for an area that has lacked sufficient access to health care services, said Dr. Alan O. Freeman, president and CEO of Affinia Healthcare.

“We realized very quickly in Ferguson and in that area around the YMCA, there were particular opportunities to serve people in need and to provide greater access to care,” Freeman said Wednesday.

Affinia leaders said talks to create the center started more than a year ago. Freeman expects the facility will cost about $5.5 million to construct and open in fall 2023.

Freeman said Affinia expects to use reserves and federal coronavirus relief funds to help pay the remaining costs.

Affinia leaders said the center will be instrumental in providing immediate access to communities that have long lacked adequate access to health care.

“The funding that is provided for this project will ensure that women of color receive the quality healthcare, prenatal care that they deserve,” said Dr. Kendra Holmes, Affinia’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. “And most importantly, this can happen in their own communities.”

Community leaders said there is a critical need to provide more health care options for residents and families in north St. Louis County.

The center will provide important care for north county residents, said U.S. Rep. Cori Bush, who represents the area.

“We are doing the work to help close these disparity gaps, to help with equity in our communities,” Bush said. “You have to do that starting with direct investment and another way to do that is to work with folks who do the work.”

Bush said north St. Louis County communities have long needed doctors closer to home.

“We just have a few [health centers] where people can go where they are uninsured or underinsured,” Bush said. "Having that in every place is necessary, and it’s been a long time coming.”

Follow Chad on Twitter: @iamcdavis

Chad is a general assignment reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.

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