$260M grant supports renovation, expansion of community health centers

Community health centers (CHCs) in 45 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, will receive $260 million via the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148) Community Health Centers Fund to support facility renovation, expansion, or construction. The HHS funding will go toward helping the 290 recipients increase patient capacity and provide additional comprehensive primary and preventive health services to medically underserved populations.

The awards will allow CHCs to renovate or acquire new health clinical space to increase capacity and provide care to more than 800,000 new patients across the country. Almost 1,400 CHCs currently serve nearly 23 million people each year. Previously, HHS awarded nearly $500 million in ACA funding to support CHCs’ provision of primary care services, including medical, oral, behavioral, pharmacy, and vision care (see Health centers funding receive $500 million ACA booster shot, Health Law Daily, September 16, 2015). In addition to providing funding for primary care services, the award supported outreach and enrollment activities to help individuals find health care coverage best meeting their needs prior to the beginning of the marketplace’s open enrollment period.

Funding of community health centers

CHCs are public and private non-profit health care organizations that comply with federal requirements to serve a medically underserved population; provide appropriate and necessary services with fees adjusted according to patients’ ability to pay; demonstrate sound clinical and financial judgment; and be governed by a board, a majority of which includes patients of the CHC. For most CHCs, grant funding constitutes about 18 percent of operating revenue, with the remainder coming from Medicaid, Medicare, private insurance, patient fees, and other resources.