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HHS announces a major new investment in community health centers

Posted Oct 07 2010 10:01pm

More than $727 million in grants from the Affordable Care Act  
to upgrade and expand community health centers 
Funds will provide care for an additional 745,000 underserved patients

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced awards of $727 million to 143 community health centers across the country to address pressing construction and renovation needs and expand access to quality health care.  The funds are the first in a series of awards that will be made available to community health centers under the Affordable Care Act.

Community health centers serve nearly 19 million patients, about 40 percent of whom have no health insurance. Community health centers deliver preventive and primary care services at more than 7,900 service delivery sites around the country to patients regardless of their ability to pay; charges for services are set according to income. 

“There is no question that the economic downturn has made it harder for some Americans to get health care and important preventive services.  Community Health Centers provide quality healthcare services to Americans across the country but are a life line for those who have lost coverage or are between jobs.  These funds from the Affordable Care Act will help get more people care in some communities where there have not been many options in the past,” said Secretary Sebelius. “The newly constructed or expanded community health centers will provide care to an additional 745,000 patients and much needed employment opportunities in both rural and urban underserved communities.”

The Capital Development (CD) program grants, administered by HHS’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), will support major construction and renovation at 143 community health centers nationwide.  This builds on the more than $2 billion investment in community health centers in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. A state by state list of Recovery Act investments in community health centers is available at http://www.hhs.gov/recovery/programs/hrsa/index.html .

“Many of these community health centers need more modern space to meet the increasing patient demand for services. These funds will help community health centers build new facilities and modernize their current sites in their continuing effort to provide the best care possible to more and more people in need,” said HRSA Administrator Mary K. Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N.

Over the next five years, the Affordable Care Act provides $11 billion in funding for the operation, expansion and construction of community health centers across the country.  This expansion of sites and services will help community health centers to serve nearly double the number of patients receiving care, regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay.

For more information on HRSA’s community health center program, visit http://bphc.hrsa.gov/ .

Information on the Affordable Care Act is available at www.healthcare.gov .  A list of awards by state can be found at http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2010pres/10/chc_chart.html .

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