Community Centers Get $335M Federal Boost

Community health centers across the country now have $335 million in federal grants at their disposal to boost access to those in need of primary health care, including dental health, behavioral health, pharmacy, vision, and/or enabling services.

The funds are made possible by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as the Affordable Care Act, under the Expanded Services (ES) initiative, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Oct. 26.

“Prevention and primary care are integral parts of the Affordable Care Act and these new funds will have a significant impact on the health care status of those most in need across the nation,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

The Affordable Care Act provides $11 billion in funding over the next 5 years for the operation, expansion, and construction of health centers throughout the nation. Of the $11 billion, $9.5 billion is targeted to creating new health center sites in medically underserved areas and expanding preventive and primary health care services at existing health center sites. An additional $1.5 billion will support major construction and renovation projects at health centers nationwide.

“We are committed to improving the overall health and wellness of our nation’s under-served communities and the Expanded Services grants are a step in the right direction,” said Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Administrator Mary Wakefield, Ph.D. R.N. “These new investments will allow existing health centers to improve and expand vital primary health care services, and continue to meet the increased demand for services.”

Health center grantees requesting ES funds must demonstrate how the funds will be used to expand medical capacity and services to underserved populations in their service areas.

Grant applications are due Jan. 6, 2011 at 8 p.m. EST.

Source: HHS press release

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