President Barack Obama is making nearly $600 million in stimulus funds available to help community health centers nationwide adopt health information technology, and develop new construction and renovation projects.
The funds, which will be awarded to 85 centers, are expected to create new job opportunities in construction and healthcare, and also help provide care for more than half a million additional patients in underserved communities, according to the White House.
At least $88 million will be set aside for health IT grants, which “will go far in expanding the current system of networks” in health centers, said Michael Lardiere, director of health information technology and senior adviser, behavioral health at the National Association of Community Health Centers, in an e-mail. NACHC “looks forward to assisting all of its community health centers in utilizing their new funding in the most effective and efficient ways possible.”
Obama also announced a new demonstration initiative to support the delivery of advanced primary care to Medicare beneficiaries through community health centers.
“Together, these three initiatives—funding for construction, technology and a medical-home demonstration project—won't just save more money, and create more jobs, they'll give more people the peace of mind of knowing that healthcare will be there for them and their families when they need it,” Obama said in a written statement.
The Health Resources and Services Administration received a total of $2 billion through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to expand healthcare services to low-income and uninsured individuals through its health center program. To date, nearly $1 billion of these funds have been awarded to community-based organizations across the country.