Affordable Care Act Will Fund New Community Health Centers

If you are struggling to find affordable medical care in your community, help may be on the way.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has granted $28.8 million to 67 community health centers around the nation to create new health-care delivery sites.

Community health centers (CHCs) are neighborhood health centers where low-income people can receive medical services, regardless of whether or not they have insurance. In 2010, 19.5 million people were treated at more than 8,100 sites nationwide.

Made available under the Affordable Care Act, the grants will help centers care for an additional 286,000 patients. "We hope to remove barriers to affordable and accessible care in communities that need it most – those that have been underserved and lacked community health centers previously," David Bowman, a spokesman for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) told

The new full-time sites will provide primary and preventive health care, including oral care and behavioral health services. Mr. Bowman said that they must be up and running within 120 days of the date of award; otherwise HRSA may sue for the return of the money.

Nearly 40% of patients who visit community health centers have no health insurance. One out of every 16 Americans now relies on a government-funded clinic for primary care.

CHCs in California received the most funding, with 20 new health centers receiving individual grants ranging from about $150,000 to over $800,000. In total, CHCs in 22 states received some level of funding.

To find a center near you, visit the HRSA website.

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