KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Administration Gives Community Health Centers A $728M Boost

The administration noted that patient rolls have swelled at the centers as more Americans lost their jobs and health insurance. The White House said 20 million Americans - up from 17 million four years ago - now receive care at the federally funded facilities.

Reuters: Health Centers For Poor, Uninsured See Ranks Swell
Community health centers that cater to the poor and uninsured saw their patients' ranks swell by nearly 18 percent from 2008 to 2011 as job loss left more Americans without health insurance, the Obama administration said on Tuesday. A report released by the White House said 20 million Americans now receive healthcare services through 8,500 community health centers, up from 17 million four years ago (Morgan, 5/1).

The Associated Press: Community Health Centers Getting $700M Upgrade
Officials say nearly 400 community health centers will share more than $700 million in capital improvement grants as a result of President Barack Obama's health care law. ... The grants for construction and renovation projects announced Tuesday are part of an $11 billion funding boost for the centers under the health care law (5/1).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Community Health Centers Get $728M Boost To Serve More People
The Obama administration on Tuesday gave out $728 million to expand and modernize 398 community health centers that provide primary care mainly to the poor (Galewitz, 5/1). 

The Hill: HHS Touts Health Law As Expanding Access For Millions To Clinics
Millions will have access to health care at local clinics thanks to investments contained in the 2010 healthcare overhaul and the economic stimulus package, the federal health department announced.  The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said that the Affordable Care Act will have funded the construction of more than 300 new community health centers by 2014. Sixty-seven have been completed so far, it said (Viebeck, 5/1).

Politico Pro: Sebelius Announces Health Center Grants
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced more than $728 million in funding from the Affordable Care Act on Tuesday for nearly 400 community health centers in the U.S. Speaking at Fairmount Primary Care Center in Philadelphia, Sebelius stressed the role of community health centers for prevention and chronic disease treatment. She said the grants "will expand our ability to provide high-quality care to millions of people while supporting good paying jobs in communities across the country." Of the grant money, $629 million will go to 171 health centers for projects such as expanding current facilities, improving services and bringing in new patients. According to HHS, the money will allow these centers to serve an additional 860,000 people (Smith, 5/1).

News organizations from a variety of states offered local coverage about how these federal funds will be used -

Denver Post: Eight Colorado Health Centers To Get $22 Million In Federal Funds
More than $22 million is about to flow into Colorado to help eight community health centers renovate and expand to serve 27,160 new patients. "We are busting at the seams," said John Santistevan, chief financial officer for Salud Family Health Centers, which was awarded more than $5 million in two federal grants. "This will be more than a 50 percent expansion. We've really outgrown our facility" (Robles, 5/2).

California News Service/San Francisco Chronicle: Bay Area Health Centers Get $19 Million In Grants
Bay Area health centers will receive almost $19 million to expand service to thousands of uninsured, immigrant and other needy patients, the Department of Health and Human Services announced Tuesday. The grants are part of a $728 million nationwide program contained in the 2009 health care bill to help community health programs expand their capacity by building new facilities and renovating existing centers. Nearly 1 in 6 dollars - roughly $122 million - will go to California, aimed primarily at rural areas with large, underserved populations (Veyriras and Chilaka, 5/2).

San Jose Mercury News: Health Centers Get Grants
The Obama administration Tuesday awarded $122 million to community health centers around California, including several around the Bay Area, as part of the nation's new health care law... The facilities that will use the grants on long-term renovation projects include San Jose Foothills Family Community Clinic, which received $900,000. Santa Cruz County got $2.4 million (Rosenberg, 5/1).

California Healthline: Health Facilities Get Improvement Boost
Since a large percentage of Shasta health center's patients are Medi-Cal beneficiaries or uninsured, it has been a challenge to serve so many more patients, [Dean Germano, CEO of Shasta Community Health Center] said. "There is a much higher proportion of patients who are uninsured than we've ever seen," he said (Gorn, 5/2).

(St. Paul) Pioneer Press: Minnesota Clinics Sharing $15.3M In Grants To Expand Facilities
Community health centers in Minnesota are being awarded $15.3 million by the federal government for capital improvement projects, according to an announcement by federal officials Tuesday, May 1. The money is being made available through the Affordable Care Act, the federal government's overhaul of the nation's health care system that Congress passed in 2010. The health centers are nonprofit private or public entities serving designated populations or communities that lack access to health care providers (Snowbeck, 5/1). 

Minnesota Public Radio: Health Care Practitioners Short In Supply In Rural Communities
Rural health leaders from Minnesota told White House officials Tuesday that their communities not only face shortages of nurses and doctors, but of many other health care workers as well. ... [That includes] nurse practitioners; physician assistants; dental therapists and community paramedics (Stawicki, 5/1).

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Feds Award $15M To Minnesota Community Health Centers
Minnesota community health clinics will receive more than $15 million in grants under the federal health law, according to an announcement Tuesday by U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. The grants will help the centers serve an estimated 9,700 patients, Sebelius said. The Minnesota grants, totaling $15,363,727, are among $728 million in national awards announced Tuesday under the 2010 Affordable Care Act (Lerner, 5/1).

Boston Globe: Mass. Health Centers Awarded $34 Million
Eleven Massachusetts community health centers, which serve patients in some of the state’s poorest neighborhoods, will receive nearly $34 million in grants under the federal health care law, the Obama administration announced Tuesday. The money, which the centers estimated will help them care for roughly 42,500 new patients, is also meant to help expand their facilities and improve existing services, federal officials said (Lazar, 5/1).

Health News Florida: Health Centers To Get $21M
Florida's community health centers, which offer medical homes for uninsured low-income patients, will receive $21 million under the Affordable Care Act -- the law that state officials are trying to get thrown out. The grants, announced today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will enable the centers to expand to serve an estimated 41,000 new patients in Florida (Watts, 5/1). 

Miami Herald: Miami-Dade Clinics To Get $6 Million For Expansion
Miami-Dade community health centers will receive more than $6 million in funds from a provision in the Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration reported Tuesday. Borinquen Health Care will receive $4.3 million, Camillus Health Concern $800,000, Community AIDS Resource $500,000 and Community Health of South Florida $500,000. All the funds are intended for renovation and construction projects (Dorschner, 5/1). 

Georgia Health News: 5 Health Centers Get $11 Million From Feds
A Stone Mountain health center highlighted in a recent Kaiser Health News article  for scoring poorly on six care measures will get the largest amount awarded in Georgia. Oakhurst Medical Centers will receive $5 million to construct a larger facility. Jeffrey Taylor, Oakhurst's CEO, said the building will be in a more visible location, on Memorial Drive. "People now drive by our [current] facility and head to Grady's emergency room," Taylor told GHN (Miller, 5/2). 

The Texas Tribune: On the Records: $61 Million Awarded for Health Centers
It's unknown how the U.S. Supreme Court will rule on the case or whether their ruling will affect these funds, but federal officials said they're moving forward despite the uncertainty. ... The federal government estimates Texas is short 484 primary care doctors. Most of the underserved regions are rural, according to a 2012 report by the Texas Department of State Health Services (Aaronson, 5/1). 

Philadelphia Inquirer: Area Health Clinics Get A Boost From New Federal Funding
At Project H.O.P.E. in Camden, a group of 10 behavioral health patients is sometimes packed into an exam room at midday while the doctor is at lunch. That is expected to change over the next few years as the health center for the homeless triples its size with the help of a $4.7 million grant, part of $728 million in capital funding to community health centers nationwide that U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced Tuesday in a visit to the Fairmount Health Center in Philadelphia (Sapatkin, 5/2).

Detroit Free Press: $19.6 M In Health Care Grants Heading To Help More Than 23,000 In Michigan
Health care for poor people in Michigan is poised to expand with more than $19.6 million in grants announced Tuesday as part of health care reform. The funds are part of an effort to help an additional 860,000 patients nationwide, including an estimated 23,521 Michiganders, gain access to health care. Dr. Anand Parekh, a deputy assistant secretary for health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, was in Detroit to help announce the grants heading to Michigan (Erb, 5/2).

Kansas Health Institute News: Kansas Health Centers Awarded $21.7 Million To Expand Services
In Pittsburg, the community health center so desperately needed more space that last year staff converted closets and a bathroom into offices. ... The waiting room has been at capacity for years with more demand on it after one of the area's biggest employers was shuttered at the end of 2008. The wheel maker Superior closed as the auto industry crashed and the number of people near Pittsburg without insurance shot up from 12 percent in 2009 to nearly 18 percent in 2010 (Cauthon, 5/1).

KCUR: Community Health Center To Expand In Independence
One of Kansas City’s main community health centers got a major funding boost today. Swope Health Services has received $2,515,313 in federal grants for facility and infrastructure upgrades.  A fifth of that money will go toward the equipment needed to upload mammography and dental images to electronic health records.   The rest will enable Swope to build a new clinic in Independence, Mo. (Gordon, 5/1).

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