HHS Secretary Announces $25.7 Million in Grants to Expand, Improve Health Center Services
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced more than $25.7 million in grants to increase and improve health and support services at the nation's health centers.
“These grants could not be coming at a better time,” Secretary Sebelius said. “With more than 14.5 million Americans out of work, and 47 million without health insurance, the health centers are seeing more patients now than ever before.”
Overseen by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) at HHS, the Health Center system served more than 17 million medically underserved people in 2008, up from 10 million patients served in 2001. Since the economic downturn began, the health center patient population has grown by another one million people – a third of them children. By law, patients are accepted regardless of their ability to pay.
A total of 180 grants worth more than $21.9 million will give existing health centers the funds to add or increase mental health/substance abuse, enabling (i.e., outreach, transportation, case management services), oral health or pharmacy services. Additionally, 48 planning grants totaling more than $3.8 million will be distributed to organizations in hard hit areas that do not have health centers to help them develop new service delivery sites. New health center sites must meet federal requirements for governance, community involvement, quality of care and financial feasibility.
HRSA’s Health Center Program funds a national network of more than 1,100 community, migrant, homeless and public housing health center grantees. These organizations provide health care at more than 7,500 clinical sites, ranging from large medical facilities to mobile vans. In FY 2009, more than $2.1 billion was appropriated to support the Health Center Program.
Here are New York’s Recipients:
EXPANDED BEHAVIORAL HEALTH GRANT AWARDS Bronx Community Health Network Inc. Bronx $212,500 Hudson Headwaters Health Network Glens Falls $50,000 Hudson River Health Care Peekskill $212,500
EXPANDED ENABLING SERVICES GRANT AWARDS Oak Orchard Community Health Center Inc. Brockport $32,600 Montefiore Medical Center Bronx $116,667 Care For The Homeless New York $116,667 Project Renewal Inc. New York $16,667 Hudson River Health Care Peekskill $141,667 Finger Lakes Migrant Health Project Penn Yan $115,207
EXPANDED ORAL HEALTH GRANT AWARDS Saint Vincent’s Catholic Medical Center New York $41,667 Finger Lakes Migrant Health Project Penn Yan $254,480
COMPREHENSIVE PHARMACY SERVICES GRANT AWARDS Institute For Urban Family Health New York $75,000
HEALTH CENTER PLANNING GRANTS AWARDS Help/PSI Inc. Bronx $80,000
CHCs and Stimulus Funding
On March 2, President Barack Obama announced the release of $155 million in Recovery Act grants to support 126 Community Health Centers across the country. In New York, six New Access Point grantees received funds totaling $7,068,705.
On March 27, HHS released $338 million nationally in Increased Demand for Services (IDS) grants to expand services offered by CHCs and enable them to serve more patients. New York State’s community health centers were granted $19,439,038 including funding for 323 new and retained jobs, and services to 89,524 new patients including 31,137 uninsured patients.
The ARRA also provided $1.5 billion for construction, renovation, equipment, and acquisition of Health Information Technology (HIT) for Section 330-funded health centers. This funding has been divided into 3 categories: the Capital Improvement Program (CIP); Health Information Technology (HIT) Systems/Networks; and Facility Investment (FI) grants.
The CIP application was due on June 2nd and we expect the guidance for thee HIT and FI grants to be released imminently.
CHCANYS will continue to share important updates and resources with health centers throughout the cycle of ARRA funding. We hope our efforts will help position New York's health centers to maximize available federal stimulus opportunities.
For more information, check out the following websites:
CHCANYS is thankful for the attention and the investment of the federal government and sees this as an opportunity for New York State to address its historic under funding of its primary care safety net by building on this federal commitment. Click here to read our press release.
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announced yesterday that it will withdraw a proposed rule on the designation of Medically Underserved Populations and Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA). The controversial rule would have impacted care for millions of medically underserved people with new HPSA designations. Instead, HRSA changed course, citing “many substantive comments on the proposed rule” and indicated that it will issue a “new Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for further review and public comment prior to issuing a final rule.”
While shying away from the term, the simple fact is that HRSA’s action clearly constitutes a withdrawal of the original February 29th proposed rule. And, given the edict issued earlier this year by White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten that, except in extraordinary circumstances, the current Administration will issue no proposed rules after June 1 of this year, the HHS announcement effectively leaves the issue to be decided by a new Administration next year.
While we are sure that this decision was not easy, we are nevertheless convinced that it is the right thing to do. HRSA deserves credit for having worked hard to develop a new designation methodology to replace systems that are more than 30 years old; however, the simple fact is that their proposed methodology had serious flaws and had not been adequately tested, nor was it discussed with key stakeholders. Independent analysis of the methodology revealed that nearly one-fourth of all currently-designated MUA/Ps, and one-fourth of all HPSAs, would be in danger of losing their designations under the Proposed Rule, with a significant human toll: 31 million people living in current HPSAs and MUA/Ps that could lose designation (26 percent of all current residents of MUA/Ps and HPSAs).
The HRSA announcement complies with the first of three key recommendations made by NACHC in its comments on the proposed rule. The announcement gave no indication whether it will follow the second NACHC recommendation, that it enter a Negotiated Rule Making process on this matter, to permit HRSA and relevant stakeholders to discuss and resolve issues arising from the Proposed Rule and methodology. We remain hopeful that this suggestion will be followed in designing a new proposed methodology for making such designations.
Finally, we remain concerned that HRSA has not indicated what will happen in this interim period. To ensure that there is no disruption in the operation of the current health care safety net, we had also urged HRSA to suspend the review of any existing shortage designations until the Negotiated Rule Making is completed. We remain hopeful that HRSA will take such action, in order to avoid any situation in which an area or population group might lose designation under current criteria, only to potentially gain it back under a new methodology. HRSA noted the absurdity of such a “yo-yo” situation in the preamble to its original proposed rule, and we trust it will not succumb to employing such a process or allowing it to be employed in this interim period.
CHCANYS Responds to HRSA’s Proposed New Rule for Determining HPSA and MUA(P) CHCANYS has joined with the National Association of Community Health Centers, other state Primary Care Associations, health centers, and health advocates and associations across the country calling on HRSA to withdraw its proposed new rule for designating medically underserved populations and health professional shortage areas. CHCANYS submitted its comments to HRSA along with hundreds of others from around the state and the country by the initial May 29th deadline. On May 30th, HRSA decided to extend the comment period for another 30 days.
With this extension, community health center advocates can still submit comments. We have shared CHCANYS' comments and other comments we’ve received with the New York State Congressional Delegation, as they will be important partners in this process. Please be sure to send Beverly Grossman a copy of your comments so that we can pass them on. If you have any questions, please contact Beverly Grossman at firstname.lastname@example.org or (518) 434-0767 x.11.
CHCANYS’s comments on the proposed rule change:
The Center for Health Workforce Studies “Impact Analysis of the Proposed Federal Methodology on Primary Care Shortage Designations in New York.” The Center for Health Workforce Studies is part of the University at Albany’s School of Public Health.
CHCANYS’ talking points
NACHC’s draft comments
INSTRUCTIONS ON SUBMISSION OF COMMENTS: You may submit comments in one of four ways (no duplicates, please):
1. Electronically: You may submit electronic comments on specific issues in this regulation to http://www.regulations.gov/. Select the "Comment or Submission" search and enter 0906-AA44. You should then see the header "Designation of Medically Underserved Populations and Health Professional Shortage Areas" and underneath it a heading "Send a comment or Submission". Click on the "Send a comment or Submission" header and follow the prompts. Attachments should be in Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, or Excel; however, Microsoft Word is preferred.
2. By regular mail: You may mail written comments (one original and two copies) to the following address only:
Health Resources and Services Administration, Department of Health and Human Services, Attention: Ms. Andy Jordan, 8C-26 Parklawn Building, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20857
Please allow sufficient time for mailed comments to be received before the close of the comment period.
3. By express or overnight mail: You may send written comments (one original and two copies) to the following address only:
Health Resources and Services Administration, Department of Health and Human Services, Attention: Ms. Andy Jordan, 8C-26 Parklawn Building , 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20857.
4. By hand or courier: If you prefer, you may deliver (by hand or courier) your written comments (one original and two copies) before the close of the comment period (May 29, 2008) to one of the following addresses. If you intend to deliver your comments to the Rockville address, please call telephone number (301) 594-0816 in advance to schedule your arrival with a staff member at these addresses:
Hubert H. Humphrey Building , 200 Independence Avenue, S.W. , Washington , DC 20201; or
8C-26 Parklawn Building 5600 Fishers Lane , Rockville, MD 20857.
(Because access to the interior of the HHH Building is not readily available to persons without Federal Government identification, commenters are encouraged to leave their comments in the HRSA drop slots located in the main lobby of the building. A stamp-in clock is available for persons wishing to retain a proof of filing by stamping in and retaining an extra copy of the comments being filed.)
Please note: Comments mailed to the addresses indicated as appropriate for hand or courier delivery may be delayed and received after the comment period.
National Association of Community Health Centers’ Legislative Action Center
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