A random check of just a few grant recipients shows that some are homeless shelters; some advocate "social justice work"; and others are involved in AIDS and LGBT services.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the $150 million in awards will provide care for around 1.25 million additional patients, many of whom will have health insurance for the first time.
The new community health centers also will help people sign up for insurance, a key consideration for HHS, given the disastrous rollout of the online portal healthcare.gov.
“We are committed to providing more people across the country with the quality patient-centered care they deserve,” Sebelius said in a news release on Thursday.
“Health centers are key partners in the improving access to quality, affordable health care services for those who need it most. With new, affordable health insurance options available under the Affordable Care Act, community health centers are also key partners in helping uninsured residents sign up for health coverage – many of whom have been locked out of the health insurance market for years.”
According to HHS, "Community health centers work to improve access to comprehensive, culturally competent, quality primary health care services," particular in communities with high un-insurance rates.
"Community health centers are also on the front line of helping uninsured residents enroll in new health insurance options available in the Health Insurance Marketplaces under the Affordable Care Act, through expanded access to Medicaid in many states, and new private health insurance options and tax credits."
HHS says right now, approximately 1,200 health centers are operating more than 9,000 service delivery sites that provide care to over 21 million patients in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Pacific Basin. Since the beginning of 2009, health centers have added 4 million patients and more than 35,000 new full-time positions.
“We are thrilled to be able to provide additional Affordable Care Act resources to health centers to establish new sites,” said the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Administrator Mary K. Wakefield. “With these new funds, health centers will provide more individuals and families across the country with access to high quality affordable health care.”