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Billion Dollar Community Health Investment
There’s no denying that if you fall below a certain income level, you are likely to receive most of your health care from a community health center. Community health centers have become the critically essential in providing primary care for millions of Americans, especially poor African Americans. Public community health centers have played an essential role in national recovery and reinvestment efforts and will play a key role in implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Now the feds are investing billions to expand its success.
More than 1,100 community health centers operate 8,100 service delivery sites that provide care to nearly 19.5 million patients in every State, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Pacific Basin.
The Affordable Care Act: The Essential Role of Community Health Centers
The Affordable Care Act provides $11 billion to bolster and expand community health centers over the next 5 years.
- $1.5 billion will support major construction and renovation projects at community health centers nationwide.
- $9.5 billion will:
- Create new community health center sites in medically underserved areas; and
- Expand preventive and primary health care services, including oral health, behavioral health, pharmacy, and/or enabling services, at existing community health center sites.
Coming soon, $250 million is being made available to support the establishment of approximately 350 new community health center sites in fiscal year 2011. The expansion of community health center sites and services will make affordable, cost-effective, high quality preventive and primary care services available to nearly twice as many people regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay; and will create thousands of direct employment opportunities in many of the country’s most economically distressed, low income communities.
According to a federal government website, community health centers are an integral source of local employment and economic growth in many underserved and low-income communities. 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.
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Uniform Data System, 2009.