The South Coast will be receiving $1.3 million in federal funding that will go toward the expansion and improvement of area community health centers. The money, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will fund the addition of new health providers, increase centers’ hours of operation, and help them offer expanded services. In all, $338 million in recovery funding is being allocated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to health centers nationwide.

According to representatives for Rep. Lois Capps camp, the funds are especially important during this era of economic downturn, as more and more individuals are losing their jobs and therefore their health care as well. Health centers provide an alternative to those without insurance as the establishments are capable of delivering preventative and primary care to patients regardless of their ability to pay – service charges are determined on a case-by-case basis according to the patient’s income.

“This funding for vital health care services could not have come at a better time,” Capps said in a March 30 written statement. “Across the Central and South Coasts, our community health centers have been the first line of defense and support for folks hurt by this economic downturn. Unfortunately, when someone loses their job and their health care coverage, they don’t stop getting sick. As our economy has gotten worse in recent months, these community health centers have seen the demand for their services skyrocket, yet the states and local communities haven’t been able to provide additional resources to meet this increased demand. This funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will help fill the gap and ensure that folks can continue to receive health care while they look for work and try to get back on their feet.”

The grants themselves, called Increased Demand for Services (IDS) grants, will be distributed according to determinations made by the HHS – potential grantees submitted proposals to the department stating how they planned to utilize the funding, and the HHS in turn decided what health centers would receive what amount of money.

This health-related funding within Capps’s 23rd Congressional District will be distributed as follows: $961,440 for Community Health Centers of the Central Coast; $133,000 for the Ventura County Healthcare Agency; and $209,509 for the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.


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