NMTC: Improving Healthcare Access for Vulnerable Communities

Jennifer Smith, a registered nurse at NMTC-financed Kootenai Medical Center in Coeur D'Alene, ID takes blood samples from a patient. Coeur D'Alene has a poverty rate above 35 percent.

Jennifer Smith, a registered nurse at NMTC-financed Kootenai Medical Center in Coeur D’Alene, ID takes blood samples from a patient. Coeur D’Alene has a poverty rate above 35 percent.

Because of a dearth of available capital, residents of low-income communities often lack adequate access to state of the art healthcare facilities that more affluent communities take for granted. Income is strongly linked to health outcomes, so the need is greater in high-poverty neighborhoods. In high poverty urban areas, safety-net hospitals, which a significant level of care to low-income, uninsured, and vulnerable populations are stretched thin. And in small towns and rural farming communities, since 2010, 71 rural hospitals have closed and another 683 are at risk of closing — limiting access to care and further depressing local economies, according to the National Rural Health Association. One recent analysis showed that nearly two-thirds of the roughly 230 hospitals opened since 2000 are in wealthier, mostly suburban areas.

Recent funding for federally qualified health centers has made a difference, but one of the most important vehicles for financing healthcare facilities in high distress is the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC). The program financed 432 projects supporting healthcare access between 2003 and 2013, delivering nearly $7 billion in capital to renovate, expand, or construct new hospitals, health clinics, and treatment clinics. One-hundred of those facilities were in rural areas, and 332 facilities were in high-need urban areas.  One such project – the Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia – will celebrate its expansion with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday, October 5, 2016. Grady was financed with NMTC allocation from Atlanta Emerging Markets, SunTrust Community Development Corporation, and the Community Hospitality Healthcare Services.

Rendering of Grady's new emergency wing

Rendering of Grady’s new emergency wing

Below is a map of healthcare projects financed by the NMTC through 2013:

More NMTC healthcare stories:

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