President Obama Announces Investment in Community Health Centers


On December 9, President Obama announced nearly $600 million in Facility Investment Program awards funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to support major construction and renovation projects at 85 Community Health Centers nationwide.  Among the grant recipients are two Michigan Community Health Centers – InterCare Community Health Network and Baldwin Family Health Care.

“InterCare Community Health Network is extremely thrilled to have been a recipient of an $8.5 million grant in a very competitive process across the country,” said Velma Hendershott, Executive Director, InterCare Community Health Network.  “We clearly know that the health care needs in the Benton Harbor community are there.  We see it every day.  So, to receive these funds and to be able to serve the community in a new, state-of-the-art facility is the realization of a long held dream.”

InterCare Community Health Network also operates sites in Allegan, Cass, Kent, Ottawa, and VanBuren Counties.

Baldwin Family Health Care, which provides comprehensive, affordable, quality primary and preventive health care to residents of Lake, Newaygo, Wexford, and Missaukee Counties, received $3 million. 

The goal of the two-year Facility Investment Program funding is to address the pressing needs of Health Center facilities by enabling the construction of new facilities and modernization of current sites, and creating employment opportunities in underserved communities.  As a result, Health Centers across the country will be able to serve an additional 500,000 patients, and new construction and health care jobs will be created.

“The Facility Investment Program funding is a real boost to Health Centers, which haven’t received U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration funding for major capital projects since 1996.  We know there are many more Health Centers with major capital needs, but this is a great down payment,” said Kim Sibilsky, Executive Director, Michigan Primary Care Association.

This is the fourth set of Health Center awards to be funded through ARRA appropriations.  Community Health Centers were among the first recipients of ARRA funding released earlier this year.  In March, President Obama announced grants to establish 126 new Health Center sites, with Western Wayne Family Health Centers and Ingham County Community Health Centers receiving a total of $2.6 million to provide care for an additional 13,890 patients and protect 105 jobs in Michigan.

Also in March, the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) awarded $338 million in Increased Demand for Services grants for Health Centers to provide care to more than 2 million additional patients over the next two years.  Michigan’s 29 Community Health Centers received over $8.5 million of this one-time funding to serve an additional 53,749 new patients, including 27,621 new uninsured patients, retain or stimulate 152 jobs, and meet the significant increase in demand for primary health care services among uninsured and underserved populations.

Then in June, First Lady Michelle Obama announced the release of $851 million in Capital Improvement Program funding to Community Health Centers, including over $23.5 million to 29 Michigan Community Health Centers. This one-time funding is being used to upgrade over 1,500 Health Center sites nationwide and open their doors to more patients.

On December 9 President Obama also announced the availability of $88 million in grants to help networks of Health Centers adopt Electronic Health Records and other Health Information Technology systems, and he unveiled a new demonstration initiative to support the delivery of advanced primary care to Medicare beneficiaries through Community Health Centers. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will begin soliciting applications in spring 2010, aiming to begin implementation of the three-year demonstration initiative in January 2011.  It is anticipated that 500 Community Health Centers will participate.

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