Community Health Centers in Maine awarded $1,268,173 in ACA grants

Pingree says it creates jobs and keeps Mainers healthy

BY RAMONA DU HOUX

May 1st, 2012 

Today Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced $1,268,173 in grants awarded to community health centers in Maine due to the new health care law – the Affordable Care Act. Penobscot Community Health Center, Inc.of Bangor will receive $498,173.Pines Health Service,of Caribou will get $270, and $500,000 will go to the City of Portland.

“President Obama’s health care law is making community health centers in Maine stronger,” said Secretary Sebelius. “For many Americans, community health centers are the major source of care that ranges from prevention to treatment of chronic diseases. This investment will expand our ability to provide high-quality care to millions of people while supporting good paying jobs in communities across the country.”

The Portland Community Health Center is getting a $500,000 grant to help them expand and renovate the facility on Park Avenue.

“This investment makes health care more accessible for people in our community who can’t afford it, without putting that burden on local property taxes,” said Congresswoman Chellie Pingree. “And the work that this money will fund also helps support local jobs, not just in the health center itself but construction jobs to do the necessary renovations.”

Nationwide employment at health centers is up 15 percent because of these investments, supporting thousands of good-paying health care jobs for nurse, medical technicians and others.

The funding will allow the Health Center to renovate the clinic, providing more space to see additional patients and make medical care more efficient.

“This is great news and it’s going to allow us to do the expansion necessary to see one-third more patients. Without this funding, these renovations wouldn’t be possible,” said Leslie Brancato, CEO of the Health Clinic.

The Portland Community Health Center currently serves 3,000 patients, although the renovations funded by this grant will allow them to see an additional 1,000 patients. Payment is made on a sliding scale based on a patient’s ability to pay.

Funding totaling more than $728 million across the United States will support renovation and construction projects, boosting health centers’ ability to care for additional patients and creating jobs. The awards are part of a series of capital investments that are made available to community health centers through the Affordable Care Act, which provides $9.5 billion to expand services over five years and $1.5 billion to support major construction and renovation projects at community health centers.

According to a new report released today, the health care law has already supported the construction and renovation of 190 health center sites and the creation of 67 new health center sites across the country, and will support the construction and renovation of more than 485 health center sites and the creation of 245 new health center sites over the next two years.

Overall, since the beginning of 2009, employment at community health centers nationwide has increased by 15 percent. And, primarily due to the Affordable Care Act and the Recovery Act, community health centers are serving nearly 3 million additional patients today and will serve an additional 1.3 million additional new patients in the next two years.

Health centers improve the health of the nation’s communities by ensuring access to primary health care services. Currently, more than 8,500 service delivery sites around the country deliver care to nearly 19.5 million patients regardless of their ability to pay.