Racine-area residents who are underinsured or uninsured will be able to get access to health care through an expansion of the Medical Mobile Clinic, which is run by the Kenosha Community Health Center Inc.

KCHC received a $500,000 grant from Aurora Health Care’s Better Together Grant Funds, which expects to expand its mobile service to Racine and western Kenosha County. Those counties will also pay to staff the clinic.

Nick Turkal, president and chief executive officer for Aurora Health Care, made the grant announcement last week.

“Aurora Health Care is dedicated to helping the communities we serve to live well,” Turkal said. “Through our Better Together Fund, we’re proud to support like-minded organizations that are striving to create better access points to healthcare for all. Aurora is excited by the new and innovative projects of these amazing organizations, and we look forward to the many benefits they will provide to the people of Wisconsin.”

The mobile clinic will help fill a void for people who don’t qualify for insurance through the Affordable Care Act or are underinsured that had previously been served by Community Health Systems of Wisconsin, said Racine mayor John Dickert.

CHSW announced in January that it was filing bankruptcy and would end offering medical care in April.

Offering medical care through the mobile clinic is a temporary solution to a long-term problem, Dickert said.

“We’re still looking at options, but one option — at least in the short-term — is to work with the KCHC expansion,” he said.

Gov. Scott Walker approved a plan in 2013 that rejected a full expansion of Medicaid under the federal government’s Affordable Care Act, but it did allow coverage for most of the state’s uninsured population to gain access to BadgerCare.

In the Racine area, about 27,000 people are uninsured or underinsured, Dickert said.

“ACA is knocking that number down, so now we don’t have as many people underinsured or uninsured,” Dickert said. “While the health care network on state is helping with the uninsured, no one can keep up with the volume of people in need of health care. We need to expand a regional FQHC (federally qualified health care center) into Racine.

“We are not expanding Medicaid and/or Medicaid into Racine, it’s already here.”

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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.