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Local health centers get ACA funds

Date: 9/18/2014

GREATER SPRINGFIELD – Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced recently $8,770,906 in Affordable Care Act funding to 37 health centers in Massachusetts to expand primary care services.

The city of Springfield received $197,570, while Caring Heath Center Inc. of Springfield was awarded $219,164 in support and, Holyoke Health Center Inc. was given $241,686.

The recent awards enable health centers to increase access to comprehensive primary health care by hiring an estimated 131 new staff including new health care providers, staying open for longer hours, and expanding the care they provide to include new services  including oral health, mental and behavioral health, pharmacy, and/or vision services.

These investments will help health centers reach an estimated 46,594 new patients in Massachusetts. Nationally, $295 million was awarded to 1,195 health centers in every U.S. State, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Pacific Basin.

“Health centers are a key part of how the Affordable Care Act is working to improve access to care for millions of Americans,” said Secretary Burwell. “These funds will enable health centers to provide high-quality primary health care to more people including the newly insured, many of whom may be accessing primary care for the first time in Massachusetts.”

Health centers are helping to implement the Affordable Care Act, not only as providers of care, but also by linking individuals to coverage through outreach and enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace. Recent statistics show that health centers provided enrollment assistance to more than 6 million people over the last year.

“Health centers provide comprehensive primary and preventive services in their communities,” HRSA Administrator Dr. Mary Wakefield, R.N., said “Today’s awards will be used to expand access to care to Massachusetts residents that need it most.”

Today, nearly 1,300 health centers operate more 9,200 service delivery sites that provide care to over 21.7 million patients. In Massachusetts, 37 health centers serve 659,521 patients.

Nationally, since the start of this administration, health centers have increased the number of patients served by more than 4.5 million people.