WASHINGTON – Hundreds of community health centers across the country can begin applying for a share of $1 billion in new funding for major construction and renovation projects, the Biden administration announced Tuesday.
The Department of Health and Human Services, which provided the information first to USA TODAY, said the money will help meet President Joe Biden’s goal of improving equity in battling COVID-19 and in providing health care services generally.
The nation’s nearly 1,400 federally funded health centers largely benefit underserved communities, such as the poor, minorities and people living in rural areas.
Those centers already received more than $6 billion from the federal government to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines, coronavirus testing and treatment for vulnerable populations. Both types of funding were included in the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package approved in March.
The latest round of grants can be used to build new facilities, renovate or expand existing ones, and to purchase equipment – creating what HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said will be “state of the art” facilities.
“As the pandemic has made clear, modernizing the physical infrastructure of many of our country’s health centers is long overdue,” Becerra said in a statement.
Health centers have until June 24 to apply for the money.
More:For the most vulnerable Americans, these clinics are trusted, accessible and vital to vaccine rollout