Reed & Whitehouse Deliver $2 Million to Expand Block Island Health Services
NEW SHOREHAM, RI – In an effort to help expand health care services on Block Island and ensure residents have access to the high level of quality patient care they deserve, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse delivered $2 million in federal funding today to help the Block Island Medical Center advance its renovation and expansion plans.
Since 1989, the Block Island Medical Center has served as a primary care facility for island residents and visitors, providing community health care, and able to handle urgent and emergent needs. The Block Island Medical Center was recently designated a Federal Rural Health Center, acknowledging its critical role in the community and the challenges it faces in its isolated location. Through the facility’s in-house providers, partnerships with visiting specialists, and a mainland referral network, the Medical Center helps ensure the health, safety, and well-being of island residents and visitors.
In consultation with the community and Planning Board, expansion and renovation of the facility will improve clinical space for primary and emergency care at the Block Island Medical Center. Scheduled improvements also include updating building systems, energy uses, technology, and accessibility requirements. The expanded facility will also provide new housing for medical students and visiting professionals and specialists who can serve the community’s needs, including in the summer when the population of the island surges.
Plans also call for new and redesigned spaces for telehealth, behavioral health, dentistry, x-ray, massage, chiropractic, acupuncture, lab space, and physical therapy which is in demand on the island.
To help advance the project, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse secured a $2 million federal earmark in fiscal year 2023 to ensure the facility can serve Block Island’s needs now and in the future. The federal earmark secured by Senators Reed and Whitehouse will support BIMC’s $10 million expansion project that is expected to begin construction in early fall 2023.
Today, Senators Reed and Whitehouse toured BIMC and spoke with town officials and staff from Block Island Health Services to review the renovation and expansion plans.
“I am committed to ensuring that folks on Block Island can get the care they need, when they need it. These federal dollars will help renovate Block Island Medical Center to better meet patient demand and ensure that residents and visitors alike can access health services in a modern facility equipped with the latest technology,” said Senator Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee. “This earmark is a booster shot to the community’s effort. It is a smart investment that supplements the capital campaign. It will help ensure the doctor is always in, so to speak, and high-quality medical care is readily available on the island. I commend the leadership and staff of Block Island Health Services for the work they do to keep Block Island healthy and safe and deliver a full spectrum of health care services.”
“The Block Island Medical Center is called upon to meet a wide array of needs for island residents and summer visitors,” said Senator Whitehouse. “I was pleased to secure federal funding with Senator Reed that will allow the Medical Center to expand its capacity for delivering high-quality care for Block Island patients all year long.”
“This extraordinary funding from the federal government, thanks to the committed support of Senators Reed and Whitehouse, reflects how important upgrading our facility is to the entire Block Island community,” said Susan Stover, Block Island Health Services board chair. “The Medical Center is an essential resource to every person who steps foot on Block Island -- whether we call Block Island our year-round home, or we arrive for a day trip. We are grateful to our community -- on- and off-island -- for responding to the call to support the Medical Center as it serves us all into the coming generation.”
“One of the essential foundations of our town is our Medical Center. Our Senators’ advocacy leads directly to better care and outcomes for our residents and our visitors. This federal appropriation will add dramatically to our capacity, enabling us to continue the medical center’s mission of providing state-of-the-art care in a modern facility,” said First Warden Keith Stover.