Community Health Centers To Receive $295M in ACA Grants
On Friday, HHS announced $295 million in federal grants aimed at increasing access to primary care services at community health centers, which have seen a sharp uptick in demand since the Affordable Care Act spurred an influx of newly insured patients, Modern Healthcare reports.
The grants are part of $3.7 billion that Congress allocated for health centers in January, and they mark the latest round in funding under the ACA. For example:
- In June, HHS announced $300 million for community health centers to expand their services for 1.25 million new patients; and
- In July, the agency awarded an additional $100 million to create new health centers in underserved areas (Ross Johnson, Modern Healthcare, 9/12).
Overall, the ACA is providing $11 billion over five years to bolster and expand community health care centers (California Healthline, 6/4). HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said, "Health centers are a key part of how the [ACA] is working to improve access to care for millions of Americans."
About 1,195 health centers in every state, as well as Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, will receive grants under the most recent round of funding (Modern Healthcare, 9/12). The largest grants typically will be awarded to states with the largest populations, including:
- New York; and
However, smaller rural states such as West Virginia, Louisiana, Georgia and South Carolina are set to receive grants that will allow health centers in each state to hire about 100 new physicians.
Overall, the grants will allow the health centers to hire more than 4,700 primary care doctors and serve 1.5 million new patients (Ferris, The Hill, 9/12). In addition, the grants will provide:
- 137,000 new patients with oral health care; and
- 38,000 new patients with substances use disorder treatment and mental health care.
National Association of Community Health Centers Vice President of Federal and Public Affairs Daniel Hawkins said the funding "could not come at a more important, opportune and critical time." He added that health centers should use the money to increase their hours of operation. However, he noted that the funding that allowed for these grants is set to expire next September. He said if lawmakers do not extend the funding, health centers would not be able to operate at as large of a scope as they can now (Modern Healthcare, 9/12).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.