KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Health Centers Get $850 million For Infrastructure Improvements

First Lady Michelle Obama visited a Washington, D.C. community health center Monday afternoon to announce the release of $851 million for the expansion and rehabilitation of clinics around the country, The New York Times reports.

Obama's visit focused attention on preventable disease like obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure that disproportionately affect African Americans and Latino Americans. "Mrs. Obama called Unity Health Care's Upper Cardozo Center, and clinics like it, a 'vital component' of the health care system, places where millions of poor and uninsured people receive preventive care and medical care and avoid costly visits to local emergency rooms" (Swarns, 6/29).

Every clinic that applied for the capital-improvement dollars will receive at least $200,000, Obama said, according to The Associated Press: "The stimulus law set aside about $2.5 billion for free and low-cost health clinics. Two earlier sets of grants awarded just under $500 million to health centers" (Metzler, 6/29).

The dollars include $109 million for 500 health centers in California to purchase equipment, improve clinic facilities and implement health information technology into record-keeping, The San Francisco Chronicle reports: "This is the third set of health grants provided through stimulus funds. California centers have already received $63 million in funds" (Colliver and Zito, 6/30).

Utah will get $6 million for its clinics,  The Salt Lake Tribune reports: "'This is a real leap of faith for the feds,' said Dexter Pearce, executive director of Community Health Centers Inc. 'It's a testament to the power of the community health movement.' One out of every 18 people in the country gets health care through community clinics, Pearce said, making it the largest health care system in the nation. But patients at these clinics are usually low income, and 40 percent nationally have no health insurance. Of the 31,000 patients Pearce serves in the Salt Lake Valley, roughly 15,000 are uninsured" (Maddocks, 6/29).

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