The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) announced Wednesday that it has awarded $128.6 million of new grants to expand Community Health Centers in 41 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands.
The new grants awarded to 219 health centers “will help expand access to care for more than 1.25 million additional patients and create approximately 5,640 jobs,” HHS said in a news release issued on Wednesday, June 20, 2012.
“The health care law is making our community health centers stronger and ensuring more Americans get the care they need,” Secretary of Health & Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius said in the news release.
“Health centers serve more than 20 million patients nationwide and are an integral part of our health care system,” said Mary K. Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N., administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). “These awards demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to quality health care through the creation of new health center sites.”
The 5,640 jobs created through the awards announced on Wednesday will go to doctors, nurses, dental providers, and many other staff supporting services to more than 1.25 million new patients, according to the HHS release.
“Health centers are … an integral source of local employment and economic growth in many underserved and low-income communities,” HHS said in the release. “In 2011, health centers employed more than 138,000 staff including: 9,900 physicians, 6,900 nurse practitioners, physicians’ assistants, and certified nurse midwives, 11,800 nurses, 10,300 dental staff, 4,400 behavioral health staff; and more than 12,500 case managers, health education, outreach and transportation staff.”
Since the beginning of 2009, health centers have added more than 25,300 new full-time positions, according to the HHS release.
“The awards announced [on June 20] will infuse critical dollars into health centers and their surrounding communities, enhancing health centers’ ability to serve more patients and creating thousands of jobs across the country,” HHS said.
A list of the new Health Center New Access Point grants, by organization and state, is available on the website of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), part of HHS.
What Services Do Community Health Centers Provide?
For an example of the kinds of services provided by Community Health Centers, and the crucial role they play in making health care available to uninsured individuals, see this Video of a real life caregiver story told by Annie Neasman, a nurse and chief executive of the Jessie Trice Community Health Center in Miami, Florida. The Video was produced by HHS as part of its MyCare initiative to educate Americans about new programs, benefits, and rights under the health care law. It features people like Annie, who work at community health centers that improve health care in communities that need it most.
“Jessie Trice serves more than 30,000 people, who made more than 120,000 visits to the center last year,” HHS states on its HealthCare Blog. “From pre-natal care to primary care for adults to special services for the elderly, the Jessie Trice Center provides care regardless of a person’s ability to pay.”
More information about the Community Health Center Program is available from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
The HHS news release of June 20, 2012, announcing $128.6 million of new grants to expand Community Health Centers in 41 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands, can be viewed in its entirety on the HHS Website.
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