Yesterday, the Department of Health and Human Services has awarded $728 million in new funds to community health centers (CHCs) under the Affordable Care Act, or health reform.
According to an announcement and report by the White House yesterday, these funds will support 398 renovation and construction projects at community health centers. Of this money, $629 million will go to 171 existing health centers across the country for “longer-term projects to expand their facilities, improve existing services, and serve more patients.” The remaining funds, $99.3 million, will go to 227 existing health centers “to address pressing facility and equipment needs and boosting health centers’ ability to care for additional patients and creating jobs.”
The Affordable Care Act calls for increased support of community health centers; specifically $11 billion over 5 years to expand services at existing community health centers and creating new centers to reach millions more patients.
What will these grants do?
- According to the Department of Health and Human Services, today’s grants will expand access to health care services to 860,000 patients.
How has the ACA helped community health centers?
- Since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, or health ref0rm, in March 2010, billions of dollars have been invested in community health centers.
- These grants have funded 190 construction and renovation projects at health centers and created 67 new health center locations.
How will the ACA continue to support community health centers?
- Over the next two years, these grants will support construction and renovation projects at 485 health centers and create 245 new CHC sites.
Why are community health centers important for Latinas’ health?
Community health centers are a lifeline for Latinas, their families, and their communities. In 2009, 35% of patients at community health centers were Latin@/Hispanic and 865,000 were migrant and seasonal farmworkers, many of whom were Latin@.
For many in our community, including undocumented Latin@s, community health centers can be the only source of primary and preventive care, as CHCs provide health services regardless of one’s ability to pay, citizenship or immigration status, and primary language.
Federally-qualified community health centers are located in medically-underserved communities, are governed by a board that represents the diversity of the community, and meet performance and quality standards. Certain CHCs focus on specific populations like the homeless, migrant and seasonal farm workers, LGBT people, and those in public housing.
CHCs provide access to recommended cervical and breast cancer screenings and help Latinas manage chronic diseases.
Recognizing the importance of community health centers in reducing health disparities and delivering care to medically underserved communities, the ACA make substantial investments in these health centers to allow them to see millions more patients every year.
For more information about Community Health Centers and Latinas, please visit our website, where you can find our publication Medicaid and Community Health Centers Threatened with Funding Cuts: What is really at stake for Latinas and immigrant communities?