WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Senate Labor-Health and Human Services (HHS)-Education Appropriations Subcommittee today approved legislation that funds the Health Centers program at a total programmatic level of $2.78 billion. This legislation, were it to become law, provides funding to maintain current levels of federal grant support and all existing operations at Health Centers, and will also extend access to care to over 1.5 million additional people in need of care. An estimated 60 million Americans -- many of whom have health insurance -- do not have access to primary medical care because of a shortage of providers in their communities.
Importantly, this legislation allows the full Community Health Center Fund increase to be used to support expansion of the Health Centers program, consistent with the original intent of the Fund. This legislation would allow HHS to fund applications among the more than 1,800 pending at the Department for new and expanded health centers.
"We are pleased and appreciative that this bill advances our goal of promoting the provision of cost-effective and high-quality care to underserved populations across the country," said Dan Hawkins, policy director for the National Association of Community Health Centers. "We look forward to continuing to work with Members of Congress to ensure the long-term viability of health centers and to restore the program's base funding."
Read the Summary of the FY12 Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations Bill here
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced awards totaling $10 million to aid 129 organizations across the country that would like to become community health centers. These funds, made available by the Affordable Care Act, support organizations’ development as a future health center.
Health centers improve the health of the nation and assure access to quality primary health care services at more than 8,100 service delivery sites around the country. Health centers provide comprehensive, high-quality preventive and primary health care to patients regardless of their ability to pay; charges for services are set according to income.
“Supporting the development of new community health centers will help us meet the healthcare needs of millions while supporting local jobs and economic growth in communities nationwide,” said Secretary Sebelius.
Community health centers are also an integral source of local employment and economic growth in many underserved and low-income communities. Since the beginning of 2009, health centers across the country have added more than 18,600 new full-time positions in many of the nation’s most economically distressed communities. In 2010, they employed more than 131,000 staff and new funds, made available by HHS last week, will help create thousands more jobs nationwide.
Today’s awards fund several community-based entities seeking to provide a more comprehensive range of primary health care services and/or expand their services to the larger community. These include seven organizations traditionally focused on Tribal/Urban Indian health, five targeting mental health services, four geared toward HIV/AIDS services, three focused on faith-based initiatives, and one senior center. The funding announced today will help these organizations plan for the development of a comprehensive primary care health center, so that they can provide care for some of the nation’s most vulnerable populations and potentially create more high-quality jobs in the future for their communities.
“The Health Center Planning Grants help organizations plan to become health centers,” said HRSA Administrator Mary K. Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N. “These awards demonstrate HRSA’s commitment to expanding access to quality preventive and primary health care in high need areas across the country.”
Eligible applicants included public or nonprofit private entities, including tribal, faith-based and community-based organizations. Current Health Center Program grantees were not eligible.
To see Health Center Planning Grants, listed by organization and state, visit:http://www.hrsa.gov/about/news/2011tables/1108healthcenterplanning.html
To learn more about the Affordable Care Act, visit www.healthcare.gov.
To learn more about HRSA’s Community Health Center Program, visit http://bphc.hrsa.gov/about/index.html.
To find a health center in your area, visit http://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov.
The Health Resources and Services Administration is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. HRSA is the primary Federal agency responsible for improving access to health care services for people who are uninsured, isolated, or medically vulnerable. For more information about HRSA and its programs, visit www.hrsa.gov.
Study Shows Community Health Centers Create Thousands of Needed Jobs While Providing Care to Medically Underserved Populations
Bethesda, MD -- A study released today shows that federal investment in Community Health Centers not only increases access to care to medically underserved populations, but also creates thousands of good jobs in the communities that need them the most. The report from the Geiger Gibson / RCHN Community Health Foundation Research Collaborative at The George Washington University measured the economic and jobs-creation benefits of the cumulative investment in health centers -- and what happens when health center funding is reduced.
"Community Health Centers not only provide a regular source of medical care for the growing number of Americans that need it, but they are also proven job-creating economic engines that employ people in the communities that they serve -- a benefit that cannot be ignored at a time of a national unemployment crisis," said Dan Hawkins, Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Research at the National Association of Community Health Centers. "All of these economic benefits are in addition to the $24 billion in annual system-wide savings that health centers deliver by keeping people healthy and avoiding unnecessary ER and hospital use."
Some of the report highlights include:
About the FQHCmd Consulting Group
FQHCmd Consulting Group is a nationwide consulting group for FQHC, FQHC Look Alikes, Rural and Community Health Centers.