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DECATUR – Space has always been tight at the Community Health Improvement Center.

In recent years, it became obvious the growing health care provider was bursting at the seams when it couldn't take in any more patients, but another 14,000 Macon County residents were eligible for services.

Starting next week, CHIC's space and capabilities will double when opens its doors at a new location and under a new name: Crossing Healthcare. Despite issues with state funding not coming through, the $6 million facility will open as scheduled Monday.

“This facility is beautiful and will provide much-needed space, allowing us to serve our entire target population. I am confident patients will feel good about themselves as they get health care here,” Executive Director Tanya Andricks said.

CHIC will close Thursday and Friday, as employees pack up, and movers bring everything to the new facility. Extra staff will be at the clinic inside Decatur Memorial Hospital to see patients there. Over the past month, patients have been notified about the move, and the city has added a bus stop there.

The board broke ground on three acres of vacant city lots last December. Half of the funding came from the state's Illinois Jobs Now! Program, and the remaining $3 million was covered with loans.

But with no state budget in place, Andricks said CHIC is carrying the full debt load to finish the building.

“Right now, the construction grant remains frozen because there's no operating budget,” Andricks said.

CHIC was established in 1972 to provide health care for residents with incomes below 200 percent of federal poverty guidelines. The new site will have several new nurse practioners and physician assistants, as well as X-ray capabilities and a built-in telepharmacy, making it easier for patients to pick up prescriptions. Pharmacist Dale Colee will oversee the Colee's Community Pharmacy at a central spot inside Crossing Healthcare.

“The big plus is that you have the physicians and other health care professionals right there, and if there's questions, it's very easy to communicate to them,” Colee said.

A pharmacist will be there a set number of hours a week. When not there, people can visit with the pharmacist and fill prescriptions via a video conference.

“People will be amazed at the state of the art that is going to be involved in this particular program,” Colee said.

A ribbon-cutting will be 9 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 22, and an open house is planned for 1 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7.

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