The brand new Tri-Cities Community Health Center at 829 Goethals Drive in Richland is now open after a ribbon cutting ceremony this morning. Check out our exclusive interview with CEO Al Cordova.

The clinic was built with the assistance of a federal grant. TCCH directors were able to make a strong case to build a clinic in Richland because it may be seen as an affluent city, but if one looks at the larger area there are 42,000 persons at 200 percent of the federal poverty level and 22,000 under the 100 percent of poverty level -- at that level of income people can hardly put food on the table. Those families include 7,500 children.

TCCH mission is to serve the underserved and those without insurance. Based on the demographics, clearly there's a need, Cordova said. These community health centers are federally-qualified health centers, so they are semi-public facilities. Of the patients served, 47 percent are on Medicaid and 38 percent don't have insurance.

The federal assistance was to provide services only, so funding for the new building (that was renovated and is leased) came from other sources. At this point, Tri-Cities Community Health can meet the needs of the public for the next 2-3 years.

This new facility will provide medical and mental health services. The center will provide a safety net for people and families who can't afford medical insurance, Cordova said.

To learn more contact TCCH at 547-2204.