HHS Announces Affordable Care Act Funding Opportunity to Create Jobs by Building, Renovating and Repairing Community Health Centers

$700 million in grants from the Affordable Care Act will help build and expand health centers, create jobs

Washington, DC—(ENEWSPF)—September 9, 2011.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today announced the availability of approximately $700 million to help build, expand and improve community health centers across the U.S. to provide needed care to low-income Americans. The funds, authorized by the Affordable Care Act, will support renovation and construction projects, boosting centers’ ability to care for additional patients and creating jobs in those communities. Community health centers are an integral source of local employment and economic growth in many underserved and low-income communities. In 2010, they employed more than 131,000 staff and new funds made available today will help create thousands of jobs nationwide.

This announcement has two funding opportunities for community health centers. One will provide approximately $600 million to existing health centers across the country for longer-term projects to expand their facilities, hire more employees and serve more patients. The second funding opportunity emphasizes shorter-term projects and will provide approximately $100 million to existing health centers to address immediate facility needs.

“For many Americans, community health centers are the major source of care that ranges from prevention to treatment. These funds will expand our ability to provide high-quality care to millions of people while supporting good paying jobs in communities across the country,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Health centers improve the health of the nation’s vulnerable populations and underserved communities by ensuring access to primary health care services. Currently, more than 8,100 service delivery sites around the country deliver care to nearly 20 million patients regardless of their ability to pay.

Community health centers also provide high-quality jobs in communities nationwide.  In 2010, they employed more than 131,000 staff including 9,600 physicians, 6,400 nurse practitioners, physicians’ assistants, and certified nurse midwives, 11,400 nurses, 9,500 dental staff, 4,200 behavioral health staff, and more than 12,000 case managers and health education, outreach, and transportation staff.  Since the beginning of 2009, health centers have added more than 18,600 new full-time positions in many of the nation’s most economically distressed communities. The funding opportunities announced today 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.

Over the next five years, the Affordable Care Act provides $11 billion in funding for the operation, expansion and construction of community health centers across the country.  This expansion of sites and services will help community health centers to increase the number of patients receiving care, regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay.

“Strengthening the foundation of community health centers is vital if we are to continue providing high-quality care for those who need it most,” said HRSA Administrator Mary K. Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N.

For more information on this funding opportunity announcement, please visit www.grants.gov

To learn more about the Affordable Care Act and Community Health Centers, visit http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/increasing_access_.html.

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.

Source: hhs.gov