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Community Health Association getting $1.3 million in federal aid

The Community Health Association of Spokane will get $1.3 million from the economic stimulus package, although the organization that operates five local clinics wasn’t sure Monday how the money is to be used.

The White House and Washington’s two U.S. senators announced Monday the money would be coming to CHAS as part of the recovery act’s Health Center Cluster Program, which will pay for new or expanded clinics and cover health care for recently unemployed workers who have lost their medical insurance.

A spokesman for U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said the money will be used to pay for a project the association proposed in late 2007 but failed to get approved. CHAS submitted a request for a Health Center New Access Point Grant and scored well, but didn’t make the list for funding in early 2008, spokesman Matt McAlvanah said.

Aaron Wilson, deputy chief executive officer for CHAS, said he hadn’t heard about the grant until a reporter called about it, and wasn’t sure yet what past project proposal the federal government is now offering to fund.

It is hoping to expand its operation in the Northeast Community Center to handle an expected increase in demand for services, although the association only leases space at the center rather than owning it.

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