HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson on Tuesday announced the release of more than $60 million in new funds to expand the healthcare safety net.
Grants totaling more than $25.1 million will be awarded to help 66 health centers expand their capacity to treat an estimated 300,000 additional patients, the government says. Another $35 million will help more than 750 community health centers in rural and inner-city areas cover the costs linked to increased demand for services.
The grants are part of the Health Centers Initiative started by President Bush in 2002 to expand healthcare access to those who do not have insurance. About 40% of patients treated at health centers are uninsured and many others are underinsured. Through the five-year initiative, the administration plans to add 1,200 new and enhanced health center sites and increase the number of patients treated each year from about 11 million to 16 million by 2006.
"Health centers are critical components of a strong healthcare safety net for all Americans," Thompson said in a written statement. "They care for millions of Americans without health insurance, providing needed primary care, preventive services and specialized care."
The grants, ranging from $20,000 to $100,000, will be administered by the Health Services and Resource Administration through its Consolidated Health Center Program.
A complete list of the grant recipients announced Tuesday is available on the HHS Web site.