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Community health centers to get $51.6 million for COVID-19 fight

Community health centers to get $51.6 million for COVID-19 fight

Illinois community health centers are set to receive $51.6 million from the federal government to aid in their response to COVID-19.

The money will head to 45 community health centers in the state. The funding comes from a stimulus bill signed into law at the end of March.

Community health centers can use the awards to help detect, prevent, diagnose and treat COVID-19. They can also use the money to increase health capacity and staffing levels.

Illinois Primary Health Care Association CEO Jordan Powell said the influx of funding comes at a “crucial time as we prepare for the coming COVID-19 surge.”

He said that community health centers are playing a critical role in testing, treatment and prevention of COVID-19. They also help keep people out of hospitals and fill gaps in care as disparities for COVID-19 break along racial and socioeconomic lines.

As of Wednesday, nearly 28 percent of confirmed cases in Illinois and more than 43 percent of deaths have been African Americans. African Americans make up less than 15 percent of the state’s population.

Powell noted that the total amount of funding allocated was about one-third of what their national affiliate, the National Association of Community Health Centers, requested. It’s also a one-time payment, so there isn’t additional funding as the numbers of uninsured and newly Medicaid eligible patients rise.

They’re pushing for a combined state and federal solution to address a funding crisis they’re facing, he said.

“With each passing day of fiscal uncertainty, our capacity to provide care becomes more at risk,” Powell said in a statement.


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