Wahiawa Health Center OK’d For $4.7 Million USDA Loan

The plan to increase health care in Central Oahu got a boost last week when Wahiawa Center for Community Health announced it had met its eligibility requirements to qualify for a $4.7 million construction loan.

The center will have 38 years to pay off the loan.

U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Housing Service, which allocates funds for community facilities in rural areas, reviewed the health center’s pre-application for federal funding and determined the center is eligible for the loan.

“This is a major milestone for the entire community,” said Bev Harbin, program development coordinator for Wahiawa Center for Community Health. “A lot of people have worked tirelessly to get to this point. It’s a great feeling, but there’s still much for us to do.

“This has been a dream for many, and everyone is pulling together to make sure we have a health center that will serve the Wahiawa community.”

With a population of more than 43,000, Wahiawa has an insufficient number of primary care physicians who practice in the area. The funds will be used to purchase medical offices at Wahiawa Medical Building, renovate a community health center and buy equipment for medical, dental, OB/GYN and other primary care services. If everything goes as planned, the health center could be ready to open its doors by April 2016.

In addition to the USDA loan, the health center also is completing the contract phase of a $250,000 state grant-in-aid, which will be used to cover a portion of the planning, real estate negotiations, appraisals and support for additional planning and design. The grant also would cover the first phase of the construction of two offices.

Wahiawa Center for Community Health also plans to request funding from the Bureau of Primary Health Care of the U.S. Department of Health and

Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration for operational funds. If awarded, the center officially will be recognized as a federally qualified community health center.