HHS Awards $295 Million in Funding to Expand Primary Care Services

More than 1,000 health centers in every US state and territory will receive Affordable Care Act funds to expand their primary care services, according to an announcement from Health and Human Services' Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell.

More than 1,000 health centers in every US state and territory will receive Affordable Care Act funds to expand their primary care services, according to an announcement from Health and Human Services' (HHS) Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell.

The $295 million in funding will create an estimated 4,750 new jobs at 1,195 centers in every state, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and the Pacific Basin. The awards will increase access to comprehensive primary care services by enabling centers to hire extra providers, stay open for longer hours, and add new services such as oral health, behavioral health, pharmacy, and vision services.

“Health centers are a key part of how the Affordable Care Act is working to improve access to care for millions of Americans,” Burwell said in a statement. “These funds will enable health centers to provide high-quality primary healthcare to more people including the newly insured, many of whom may be accessing primary care for the first time.”

HHS estimates the funding will help health centers reach 1.5 million new patients, including more than 137,000 oral health patients and 38,000 mental and substance abuse patients. Currently, nearly 1,300 health centers operate more than 9,200 service delivery sites and provide care to more than 21.7 million patients.

“Health centers provide comprehensive primary and preventive services in their communities” Mary K. Wakefield, PhD, RN, administrator for HHS’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), said in a statement. “Today’s awards will be used to expand access to care, to the people that need it most.”

According to HRSA, states that will benefit the most from the fiscal year 2014 awards include:

  • California, which will receive $38.5 million, hire 574 new full-time employees (FTEs), and help 211,477 new patients.
  • Florida, which was awarded $13.4 million in order to hire 215 new FTEs and reach 69,144 new patients.
  • Texas, which will receive $16.2 million so health centers can hire 353 new FTEs and assist 75,498 new patients.