Affordable Care Acts Expand Care to More People in Need

By Micah Clemens

The Department of Health and Human Services this week announced $723 million in Capital Development Grants for health centers to support 398 renovation and construction projects.

These grants will assist Community Health Centers in their efforts to deliver quality primary and preventive care services to underserved people and communities waiting for care. Kaiser Health News has a good summary of the announcement here.

The press has also been paying attention – and for good reason.   A spate of recent reports demonstrate that growing numbers of people need health care.  For instance, one-quarter of working age adults experienced a gap in their health insurance coverage last year, according to a new survey by the Commonwealth Fund.    The same survey showed that many people and families found it very difficult to find affordable health plans that met their health needs.  Gaps in coverage for people also affected their connections to the health care system — and that’s where health centers make a difference.  You don’t need insurance to receive care at a health center.  Boosting the patient capacity at health centers means more people can gain access to care.

Hunter Health Clinic in Wichita, Kansas, for example, can now double their capacity with their ACA  grant of $4.6 million for construction of a new, larger health center that will allow them to serve 60,000 patients. The local TV station KWCH was on site to cover the story, and has compelling video of their reaction to the news.

Wichita’s Hunter Health Clinic CEO Susette Schwartz announces their new ACA grant. Click to view the video from this story.

NACHC President and CEO Tom Van Coverden described the demand for health center services in communities across America in an interview with Public News Service, which ran stories in Nevada, Virginia, Florida, Colorado, Ohio, and Michigan.

The White House talked about the announcement on their blog and released a new report sheet entitled “The Obama Administration and Community Health Centers”.

In states like New Jersey and California (and many, many others), lawmakers are speaking out about the value of these new and expanded health centers for their communities.

As these construction and rennovation projects begin, be sure to share your stories with us, and we can add them to our Community Health Center stories on NACHC’s website.

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