[t]here 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. 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.
According to the National Association of Community Health Centers , there are approximately 1,200 centers across the country. They provide care for 20 million patients. Seventy-one per cent of these patients have family incomes at or below the poverty line while 38% are uninsured and 36% are on Medicaid.
[m]any 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.
The PPACA funding is in addition to the $2 billion allotted for health centers under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). ARRA provided health centers with $500 million to expand services to new patients and $1.5 billion to support facility construction and renovation as well as equipment acquisition. (Click here to see a list of grantees receiving ARRA funding.)