GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Dann Fann flinches every time his cellphone pings with a message.
He believes good news is inevitable, but the wait to know when Gov. Ron DeSantis will sign the 2023-24 …
GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Dann Fann flinched every time his cellphone pinged with a message.
He believed good news is inevitable, but the wait to know when Gov. Ron DeSantis will sign the 2023-24 budget was strenuous.
The future of The Way Clinic was moved forward by the tip of the governor’s pen Thursday, with $1.4 million of the record $116.5 billion budget being set aside for a new clinic on College Drive in Orange Park.
“In the last two years, the governor has signed the new budget on June 2, but I guess he has a lot more going on right now,” the clinic’s executive director said.
DeSantis announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination on May 24. Since then, he’s been hop-scotching around Florida, signing bills and making campaign speeches in Iowa, South Carolina and New Hampshire.
The 13-day delay was worth the wait, Fann said.
According to The Way Clinic, its mission is to improve the overall health of Clay County by providing residents who are low-income and uninsured with free basic medical care. It envisions accessible, affordable healthcare for all residents in the county through a coordinated system and network of providers.
To be eligible, patients have to live in Clay County with an income of 200% or less than the Federal Poverty Guideline and be uninsured or unable to access healthcare.
Its services include basic primary, woman and prenatal and diabetes care.
The current clinic is at 479 Houston St. in Green Cove Springs. The nonprofit has plans to build an expanded 5,100-square-foot facility at 302 College Dr. in Orange Park.
The cost of the new building is $2.5 million, Fann said. Officials and volunteers have collected nearly $1.25 million, including a “significant” contribution from a donor who asked not to be identified. An additional $1.4 million is part of the next state budget.
Fann said Florida Rep. Sam Garrison (R-Fleming Island) and Florida Sen. Jennifer Bradley (R-Fleming Island) were instrumental in incorporating the county’s medical needs into the budget.
“I’m really thrilled for what it means for Clay County,” Garrison said. “It really has the potential to be transformative for the people it serves. It’s a great example where state dollars can be used to support private individuals and volunteers who give their time, talent and treasure.”
Garrison said talks with the governor’s office were, but like everyone else, he was cautious until the budget was signed.
“(DeSantis) takes his responsibilities, especially with the budget, very seriously,” Garrison said. “I share that concern. That’s one reason we’ve succeeded in Tallahassee: we’re very sincere about our asks. We do a lot of the homework up front.”