Sunday, July 5, 2009

Health Centers Receive Funds

HHS has released $851 million in Recovery Act grants to enable 650 centers to support the construction, repair, and renovation for over 1,500 health center sites. The funding will also be used to purchase new equipment for health information technology systems and to help 400 health centers adopt and expand the use of electronic health records.

For example, the Johnson Health Center in Lynchburg Virginia will divide approximately $700,000 in funds to use for information technology, dental equipment and for renovations. Several health centers in Dayton Ohio received $250,000 to buy an electronic medical record system and will also use the funds for renovations. Reno and Carson City in Nevada will use $3 million for construction at the centers, but also to purchase advanced health IT.

In the next 100 days, funding will enable 1,129 health centers in 50 states and eight territories to provide services to 300,000 patients. This includes treating more than 16 million patients, providing 2.8 million with dental services, and 617,000 with mental health care. The health centers employ more than 100,000 in underserved communities.

One study shows that a large portion of costly emergency room visits could have been redirected to a health center where the care can be as good or better and can be more effective than in other facilities. The lead author for the study was Dr. George Rust, Director of the National Center for Primary Care and a Professor at the Morehouse School of Medicine in Georgia. The study specifically acknowledges that health centers work well at managing and reducing chronic conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, and asthma.

For a complete list of grantees listed by state, go to