U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Administrator Mary Wakefield marked the first 100 Days of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) by holding a news conference on May 28 to affirm their strong support for Community Health Centers.
ARRA provides a one-time investment in Health Centers of $2 billion over a 2-year period. HHS has already awarded approximately $155 million to support 126 new Community Health Center sites, including two in Michigan, and $338 million in Increased Demand for Services grants, of which all Michigan Health Centers have received funding. Sebelius said this investment is a “down payment on health reform” and will expand access to health care for more people, create jobs, and help families in need.
“With Michigan’s unemployment rate at 12.9% and Detroit’s unemployment rate at 22% — nearly three times the national rate — our Health Center has seen an increase in the newly uninsured,” said Ricardo Guzman, Chief Executive Officer at Community Health and Social Services Center in Detroit. “As a result of the stimulus funding, we will be able to hire new medical, dental, and support staff; open up as many as 150 additional appointment slots weekly; provide medical care to an additional 2,700 individuals; serve more than 1,000 additional dental patients; and absorb all patients on our four-month waiting list, providing these patients with a medical home,” said Guzman.
Guzman was one of several Community Health Center leaders who joined Sebelius and Wakefield in the news conference.
Sebelius and Wakefield also announced the release of $87.1 million from the fiscal year 2009 federal budget to support services offered at Community Health Centers nationwide, including $525,000 to Hamilton Community Health Network in Flint.
The grants are funded through the Health Center Program, which provides more than 18 million individuals in more than 7,000 communities with access to quality, affordable, comprehensive primary and preventive health care.
An additional $1,415,610 will be distributed among all 29 Michigan Federally Qualified Health Centers to supplement their base grant awards and offset rising costs associated with maintaining current service levels.
A detailed listing of the grants awarded can be found on the HHS website.