The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently awarded $1 billion in American Rescue Plan funding to nearly 1,300 Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Health Center Program-funded health centers to support major health care construction and renovation projects. These funds are intended to strengthen the nation’s primary healthcare infrastructure and advance health equity and health outcomes in medically underserved communities, including through projects that support COVID-19 testing, treatment, and vaccination.
“Health centers are lifelines for many of our most vulnerable families across the country, especially amidst the pandemic,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Thanks to American Rescue Plan funds, we’re modernizing facilities across the country to better meet the most pressing public health challenges associated with COVID-19. This historic investment means we get to expand access to care for COVID-19 testing, treatment and vaccination, all with an eye towards advancing equity.”
Health centers will use this funding for COVID-19-related capital needs, constructing new facilities, renovating and expanding existing facilities to enhance response to pandemics, and purchasing new state-of-the-art equipment, including telehealth technology, mobile medical vans, and freezers to store vaccines.
The funds will be awarded to health centers that serve medically underserved and other vulnerable populations and communities, which are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and other health conditions. By constructing new facilities or renovating and expanding existing facilities, health centers will ensure that these communities will have more equitable access to high-quality primary health care. More than 91 percent of health center patients are individuals or families living at or below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines and nearly 63 percent are racial or ethnic minorities.