In a press release issued on March 24, HHS said the funding, provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act signed by President Trump on March 6, would help 1,381 health centers “address screening and testing needs, acquire medical supplies and boost telehealth capacity.”
The money is being released through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
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“HRSA-funded health centers have been and will be critical players in our national response to the COVID-19 pandemic, HHS Secretary Alex Azar said in a press release. “The new grants we’re releasing today are a rapid injection of resources secured by President Trump from Congress in the supplemental funding bill, building on the strong investments HHS has made in health centers over the years. President Trump has emphasized a whole-of-government, whole-of-America response to the pandemic, and these grants will help health centers, which know the needs and resources of their communities best, to play their part.”
“HRSA-funded health centers provide high-quality primary care services to 28 million people in the United States. That is 1 in 12 people nationwide,” added HRSA Administrator Tom Engels. “These grantees operate 13,000 service delivery sites that are lifelines to services and networks of resources in their communities every day, and especially during a crisis.”
“HRSA-funded health centers will receive this funding as quickly as possible so they can maintain their ability to deliver quality primary health care services to their patients while responding to developing needs in their communities,” he said.
With more and more states shutting non-vital businesses and urging residents to stay home, state and federal agencies have pushed across a raft of new laws and guidelines aimed at increasing the use of telehealth and mHealth.
Just last week, Congress received a bill aimed at boosting connected health funding for nursing homes, which are also facing increasing strain under the pandemic. The bill, sponsored by Democratic Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, would set $50 million aside for grants to nursing homes through HHS’ Telehealth Resource Center.