HHS Wednesday announced that it would grant $1.3 billion to 1,387 community health centers funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration.
"Increasingly, people are turning to health centers for the first line of defense in combating emergency public health priorities like the novel coronavirus," HSRA Administrator Tom Engels said. "Health centers will put these resources to immediate use to respond to emerging and evolving local needs and continue to deliver high-quality primary health care services to their patients."
Community health centers are essential to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic because they serve as community screening and testing sites. Public health officials work with them to help track and trace the spread of the virus.
Health systems also rely on community health centers to deliver care to low-acuity patients that don't need to go to a hospital, which frees up hospital and emergency room capacity.
The additional funding came from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, that Congress passed in March to address the coronavirus outbreak.
Almost 1,400 HSRA-funded community health centers across 13,000 locations serve more than 28 million people nationwide.