Buckingham Estate funds going to new clinic

Monday, December 6, 2004

The Buena Vista County board of supervisors recently decided to slate Buckingham Trust funds toward a reduced-fee-for-services clinic in Storm Lake.

The supervisors agreed to disburse $15,000 of Buckingham Trust funds yearly for four years with the balance going to the clinic the fifth year.

The Buckingham Trust was established in the will of J.A. Buckingham in 1975. At that time, just over $29,000 was willed to establish a trust to help pay medical expenses of needy children in the county. Interest has grown the trust account to $65,000 and the county lately has been discussing how to allocate the funds.

Renee Seagren, interim executive director of United Community Health Center, has been heading up an effort to establish the clinic; however, a grant application earlier this fall was turned down. Seagren said that was not unusual since it usually takes several go-arounds for approval.

That disbursement is contingent upon a number of conditions, first, of course, that the clinic's grant be approved. Other conditions which are stipulated in the Buckingham Trust guidelines are that funds go toward paying health expenses of needy children residing in Buena Vista County.

Buckingham Trust funds could be used for any health-related problems in children, for example, orthopedic devices needed to help in walking, hearing aids, or eye glasses. However, funds could not be used for any cosmetic procedures such as braces.

Seagren at a prior supervisors meeting had also asked the board for county funding assistance in addition to the Buckingham Trust funds. However, the board as this time has not chosen to not pledge any further assistance beyond Buckingham funds.

"That's wonderful," Seagren said upon hearing of the county's commitment to the clinic. Seagren submitted an application for the $650,000 clinic which would be located in the Dierwechter Clinic. The clinic would not be free. Clients would pay fees on a sliding scale.

The grant would be through the Department of Health and Human Services Bureau of Primary Health Care.

Seagren said earlier that any financial commitment from the county could help show good faith and so possibly help leverage the grant. She said the county's assistance should help with the current application.

Seagren said it takes several tries before grants are awarded. She said she should learn by April 15 whether the grant is awarded.

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