Sebelius Announces Releases of More $ for Community Health Centers

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Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of Health and Human Services (HHA), announced today the release of about $1.4 million through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to support health services offered in Georgia.

In March, the state received $7 million in Increased Demand Services (IDS) funds, which will be distributed to 28 federally qualified health centers across the state. Over the next two years, Georgia will create or save 101 jobs and provide service to an additional 45,191 patients.

“The economic downturn is hurting all of us and when workers lose their jobs, they often lose their health insurance, too,” Sebelius said Thursday. “Community Health Centers provide essential care for families in Georgia and across the country that do not have insurance or cannot afford the high cost of care. The Recovery Act grants and the funding we have released are key investments that will help deliver care to millions of Americans.”

The latest round of funds are distributed through the Health Center Program, which helped more than 17 million individuals last year by providing access to high quality, family-oriented, comprehensive primary and preventive health care. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency within HHS, oversees the Health Center Program, a major component of America’s health care safety net.

In a typical year, about 40 percent of health center patients have no insurance coverage. Through ARRA, the HHS has already awarded $155 million to help 126 community health centers across the country, bringing access to 750,000 people in 39 states and two territories.

HHS has also awarded $338 Million in IDS grants for health centers, which will use these funds to provide care to over 2 million additional patients over the next two years, including approximately 1 million uninsured people. In addition, over the next two years, health centers will use the funds to create and retain approximately 6,500 health center jobs.

The non-Recovery Act grants awarded today include $269,765 to expand medical capacity at Union Mission, Inc. in Savannah, GA.   

All told, ARRA provides $2 billion for grants to health centers over a 2-year period.  $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. The additional $1.5 billion will be used to support construction, renovation and equipment, including health information technology systems, in health centers and health center controlled networks.

An additional $1,145,436 will be distributed among all 28 Community Health Centers in Georgia to supplement all health centers’ base grant awards and offset rising costs associated with maintaining current service levels.

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