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Funding announced for community health centers

Tuesday May 1, 2012
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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced monetary awards to help build, expand and improve community health centers nationwide.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that funding of more than $728 million will support 398 renovation and construction projects, allowing health centers to care for additional patients while creating jobs.

The awards come from two capital programs for community health centers. One provides about $629 million to 171 health centers across the country for long-term projects to expand their facilities, improve existing services and serve more patients. The program is projected to expand access to an additional 860,000 patients. The second set of awards provides about $99.3 million to 227 existing health centers to address pressing facility and equipment needs.

The awards are part of a series of capital investments made available under the Affordable Care Act, which provides $9.5 billion to expand services over five years and $1.5 billion to support major construction and renovation projects at community health centers.

"For many Americans, community health centers are the major source of care that ranges from prevention to treatment of chronic diseases," Sebelius said in a news release (NOTE: see Nurse.comís recent feature on community health centers at www.nurse.com/Article/HealthCenters). "This investment will expand our ability to provide high-quality care to millions of people while supporting good-paying jobs in communities across the country."

Health centers improve the health of the nationís underserved communities by ensuring access to primary healthcare services. More than 8,500 service delivery sites around the country deliver care to more than 20 million patients regardless of their ability to pay.

According to a report released May 1, the healthcare law has supported 190 construction and renovation projects at health centers and the creation of 67 new health center sites across the country, and will support more than 485 health center construction and renovation projects and the creation of 245 health center sites over the next two years.

A list of facilities that will receive the grants is available at http://1.usa.gov/JPIDf9.

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