During this National Health Center Week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), awarded nearly $90 million in American Rescue Plan funding to community health centers nationwide to improve health equity through better data collection and reporting. The funding also builds on the $7.6 billion invested from President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan to strengthen the health center workforce, renovate facilities and give them essential COVID-19 medical supplies over the past year.

Knox and Whiteside Counties in Illinois, Eastern Iowa Health Center in Cedar Rapids, Community Health Care, Inc. in Davenport and Crescent Community Health Care in Dubuque were the recipients of grants in the amount of $65,500 each.

“We have prioritized advancing equity in our COVID-19 response and throughout all of our work,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Community health centers have played a pivotal role in the nation’s COVID-19 response, and now serve more than 30 million people across the country. Today’s investments will help ensure that all patients have equitable access to the high-quality health care they deserve.”

Funding supports a data modernization plan aimed at improving identification and responses to specific needs of patients and communities through improved data quality; advancing COVID-19 response, mitigation, and recovery efforts and preparing for future public health emergencies.

HRSA’s initiative is designed to allow health centers to have better data on both patient health status and social determinants of health. With this information, programs can tailor their efforts to improve health outcomes and advance health equity by precisely targeting the needs of specific communities or patients, especially as part of a public health emergency response.

“Time and again, the COVID pandemic has demonstrated the vital role of trusted community leaders in delivering health care services,” said HRSA Administrator Carole Johnson. “Health centers are that trusted resource in the highest risk and hardest hit communities in the country. As we recognize the heroic work of the frontline health care workers who make health centers what they are, today we also are investing in the tools they need to help them continue to best serve their communities.”

The nearly 1,400 HRSA-funded community health centers in the U.S. serve as a national source of primary care in underserved communities. They are community-based and patient-directed organizations that deliver affordable, accessible, high-quality medical, dental, and behavioral health services to more than 30 million patients each year. Specific initiatives reach people experiencing homelessness, agricultural workers and residents of public housing.

In 2021, HRSA-funded health centers provided care for one in five residents in rural areas and one in 11 people nationwide. One in three health center patients are living in poverty and nearly two-thirds are racial/ethnic minorities.

Learn more about the Health Center Program by clicking here.