Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has marked the first 100 Days of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), discussed the Act’s critical support for community health centers, and announced the release of $81.7 million to expand services offered at the nation’s health centers. 

The grants are funded through the Health Center Program, which helped more than 17 million people last year by providing access to high-quality, family oriented, comprehensive primary and preventive health care, says HHS. HRSA, an agency within HHS, oversees the Program, a major component of America’s health care safety net, according to HHS. In a typical year, about 40% of health center patients have no insurance coverage.

The Recovery Act provides $2 billion for grants to health centers over a 2-year period.  Some $500 million will be used to support new health center sites and service areas, increase services at existing sites, and address spikes in uninsured populations, according to HHS. The additional $1.5 billion would be used to support construction, renovation, and equipment, including health information technology systems, in health centers and health center-controlled networks, according to HHS.

HHS has already awarded approximately $155 million in Recovery Act grant funds to support 126 community health center sites nationwide, says HHS.  The 126 New Access Point (NAP) grants were awarded to applicants that were approved but unfunded in 2008.  These grants will provide access to health center care for 750,000 people in 39 states and two territories, says HHS.

HHS has also awarded $338 Million in Increased Demand for Services grants for health centers, according to the agency. Health centers will use these funds provide care to more than two million additional patients over the next 2 years, including approximately one million uninsured people, says HHS. In addition, over the next 2 years, health centers will use the funds to create and retain approximately 6,500 health center jobs, HHS says.

To see a state by state list of additional funding for community health centers, click here.

[Source: HHS]