Your local community may be sharing in $727 million the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued to health centers across the country – including 19 in Indiana. The funds, available from the Affordable Care Act, address construction and renovation needs while also expanding access to care.
“The newly constructed or expanded community health centers will provide care to an additional 745,000 patients and much needed employment opportunities in both rural and urban underserved communities,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
Community health centers offer preventive and primary care services at more than 7,900 sites around the nation to nearly 19 million patients, 40 percent of whom have no health insurance. The centers set charges for services according to a patient’s income.
One example of grant spending
Community HealthNet, a Gary-area community health center, received HHS grants totaling $587,456.
|Janet Seabrook, M.D.,
Community HealthNet executive director
“We’re doing construction now since we were notified late last year that the funds would be available,” said Janet Seabrook, M.D., Community HealthNet executive director. A second phase of federal funding had to be spent by the end of 2010.
“We used the capital improvement grant of $414,375 to renovate our second floor and add six exam rooms,” explained Dr. Seabrook.
The center will expand to the second floor, formerly offices, and will move adult services to that level. The first floor will now be used exclusively for delivering pediatrics and obstetric services.
“We have about 10,000 patients and close to 30,000 visits per year,” Dr. Seabrook said. “Without these primary care services, people would go without treatment or visit the emergency room for their primary care, which we all know is inefficient.”
Community HealthNet also has two school-based clinics in the Lake Ridge School District (unincorporated Calumet Township) and a location in Merrillville. Dr. Seabrook noted, “We are set to open two additional sites in the fall of 2011.”
Dr. Seabrook works with medical students in rotations at her clinic and encourages them to select primary care to treat patients with chronic medical diseases.
To see the list of Indiana clinics granted funds through the Affordable Care Act, visit the HHS website.