Community health centers get $851M for expansion, rehab

Announced with a ceremonial visit by First Lady Michelle Obama, the federal government has officially turned loose $851 million for expanding and rehabbing community health clinics across the U.S.

This money is part of a larger $2.5 billion set aside in the stimulus law for free and low-cost health clinics. The $851 million will be distributed unevenly, depending on the number of clinics in a state; grants include $109 million for 500 health centers in California to buy equipment, improve clinics and implement health IT, while Utah will get $6 million. The terms for receiving funds are generous. Every clinic that applied for capital-improvement dollars will get at least $200,000.

Still, even with capital improvements, it seems likely that clinics will continue to struggle with demand as uninsured patients turn to them for basic services. This is a good first step for shoring up the clinics, but it seems almost guaranteed that they'll need more help.

To learn more about the grants:
- read this Kaiser Health News piece

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