$101M in ACA funds to go toward new community health centers

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Tuesday that it will divert $101 million in Affordable Care Act (ACA) funding to 164 new community health centers across the country in an effort to increase healthcare access.

Community health centers are "public and private non-profit healthcare organizations" that provide care to medically underserved populations and charge fees adjusted according to patients' ability to pay, according to HHS' Health Resources and Services Administration. The agency estimates that 1 in 15 Americans relies on such services.

The new health centers will join the nearly 1,300 existing ones, 550 of which have been added in the last four years under the ACA, according to HHS. The agency projects that the 164 new health centers will provide healthcare access to 650,000 more patients. Indeed, community health centers have struggled to care for an increasing number of patients amid previously inadequate federal funding, FierceHealthcare has reported. 

"Health centers are keystones of the communities they serve," HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, pictured, said in the announcement. "Today's awards will enable more individuals and families to have access to the affordable, quality healthcare that health centers provide. That includes the preventive and primary care services that will keep them healthy."

HHS' announcement Tuesday follows up on a tenet of the newly enacted replacement for the much-maligned Sustainable Growth Rate formula, known as the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, which ensures mandatory funding for community health centers over the next two years. 

To learn more:
- read the announcement

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