Illinois community health centers receive nearly $3.7 million for COVID-19 response
A number of Illinois community health centers are set to receive nearly $3.7 million in federal funds to aid in their response to the new coronavirus.
The 45 Illinois health centers identified by federal officials will receive between $53,040 and $230,491. It will be used to address screening and testing needs, acquire medical supplies and boost telehealth capacity.
While appreciated, the funds are an “insignificant amount” compared to what is needed by centers to combat COVID-19 and ensure they remain viable organizations now and into the future, said Jordan Powell, CEO of the Illinois Primary Health Care Association.
“A state and federal solution is required, and we’re working with the administration to address the immediate needs of our members,” he said in a statement to Health News Illinois.
The association was joined by all members of the Illinois House delegation last week in a letter to Gov. JB Pritzker requesting the state do more to support health centers.
“During this national emergency, we cannot afford for our healthcare facilities to lack the resources they need,” the letter said. “It would be unthinkable for a community health center to be forced to close due to a lack of adequate revenue.”
Pritzker said during his Monday press conference that he wants to make sure federal aid is made available to community health centers, and he said he would work with the state’s congressional delegation to get language included in a stimulus package.
A report by the association’s partner, Capital Link, found that Illinois community health centers could lose as much as $140 million, 70 percent of their revenue, over the next three months. Nearly 30 percent of centers will exhaust their operating reserves and be forced to close sites or reduce services, according to the report.
Illinois’ two Democratic U.S. senators, Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, also joined colleagues last week in requesting that congressional leaders authorize more funding for health centers and include annual funding increases in future stimulus packages.
Distribution of the roughly $3.7 million announced for Illinois on Tuesday is determined by the total number of patients they serve and the number of those who are uninsured, said Jim Macrae, associate administrator for the Bureau for Primary Health Care, during a call with reporters. It is part of $100 million that is being released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for 1,381 health centers across the country.
The funds come from one of the recently approved coronavirus stimulus packages signed into law.’
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