New Government Funds Will Support Health Workers, Expand Access to Care

Sep 18, 2014, 3:00 PM

The federal government announced new funds this month to expand primary care services and improve access to care.

On Sept. 12, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the availability of $295 million to nearly 2,000 health centers across the country.

Authorized by the Affordable Care Act, the money will support salaries for an estimated 4,750 new health care providers and other staff; allow centers to stay open for longer hours; and add new services in the areas of oral and behavioral health and pharmacy and vision services, according to an HHS statement.

The agency says the money will enable centers to reach an additional 1.5 million new patients nationwide. Today, nearly 1,300 community health centers provide care to some 22 million patients across the nation, according to HHS.

On Sept. 8, HHS awarded $60 million in “navigator” grants to support organizations that help consumers shop for and enroll in state-level health insurance marketplaces, Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Navigator organizations are especially helpful for Latinos and other consumers who face challenging or complicated enrollments, the HHS said.

“In-person assisters have an impact on the lives of so many Americans, helping individuals and families across the country access quality, affordable health coverage,” HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell, AB, BA, said.  “We are committed to helping Americans get covered and stay covered with in-person assistance in their own communities.”

Learn more here and here.

Read more about recent HHS grants here.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Human Capital Blog. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors.