Contact: Amy Simmons Farber 202 309 0338
Congress has passed the $1.9 trillion COVID relief package, known as the American Rescue Plan, which is on its way to President Biden’s desk for signature. In addition to providing stimulus checks for families, funding for schools, small businesses and anti-poverty programs, the package includes much-needed relief for America’s Community Health Centers as they mark one year of fighting a deadly pandemic on the front lines of medically underserved and hard to reach communities. The legislation includes:
- $7.6 billion in flexible emergency COVID-19 funding for Community Health Centers;
- $800 million for the National Health Service Corps, $200 million for the Nurse Corps, and $330 million for the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education programs, all of which support the health center workforce;
- $7.6 billion to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to expand the public health workforce;
- $47.8 billion to HHS to implement a national testing strategy and contact tracing surveillance; and
- $7.5 billion in funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for vaccine administration and distribution, to be dispersed to support state, local, tribal, and territorial public health departments, community vaccination centers, and mobile vaccination units.
“This relief cannot come soon enough for health centers and we are deeply grateful for these resources and the leadership in Congress, along with the Biden Administration, who made it possible,” said Tom Van Coverden, President and CEO of NACHC. “Nearly one year ago we were fighting this pandemic with one hand tied behind our backs and a multitude of challenges that included diminished revenues and shortages of protective gear, supplies and tests. Health center advocates across the country have worked tirelessly to let their leaders in Congress know that to successfully fight the pandemic we need to have adequate resources. Today, that call has been answered and we look toward bringing about an end to the pandemic and putting everyone back to work.”
The package comes as health centers, which serve 30 million patients nationwide, are engaged in a national vaccination effort as the centerpiece of the Biden Administration’s plan to ensure equity in the fight against COVID. Currently, some 250 health centers, with more than 4,000 sites, are working on the ground to ensure special populations — such as the homeless, the poor, agricultural and migrant workers, residents of public housing, those with limited English proficiency, and people living in rural areas — have access to all three COVID vaccines.
Established in 1971, the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) serves as the national voice for America’s Health Centers and as an advocate for health care access for the medically underserved and uninsured.