, MD — As part of National Health Center Week,
U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), today visited the Tri-State Community Health Center to present the Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) with a ceremonial check for $1,221,744. The funding was included in the
American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA),
which included a total of $2 billion in grants to health centers over a two-year period.
The Tri-State Community Health Center in Hancock opened 1987, and in 2007 served approximately 6,600 patients.
The Tri-State Health Community Health Center has three other locations: primary care clinics in Cumberland and McConnellsburg, PA., and a women’s health center in Cumberland with a total patient population of 19,500.
The Hancock clinic served 1,239 uninsured patients in the past 12 months, a 5 percent increase from the previous 12 months. The center plans to use the economic recovery funds for capital improvements.
The Tri-State Health Center is one of 16 established FQHCs in Maryland that will receive more than $16 million in grants from the economic recovery package to enhance existing services to meet expanding need. The recovery package also included $155 million to establish 126 new health centers across the country.
These additional centers will be able to provide access to health center care for 750,000 people in 30 states and two territories. Additionally, $338 million in Increased for Demand Services grants for health centers was also included in the economic recovery package.
These centers will be able to provide care for an additional two million Americans over a two-year period.
“Expanding our system of community health care centers – centers that we know work and save lives – is an investment in the health of our citizens and our economy,”
said Senator Cardin. “We saw with the death of 12-year-old Deamonte Driver from an abscessed tooth what the lack of health care can mean.
I am committed to ensuring that all Americans have access to health care.”
FQHCs are primary care providers, open to everyone.
The centers provide 18 million Americans nationwide with basic health services such as prenatal care, childhood immunizations and cancer screenings for patients covered by Medicaid, Medicare and private insurance, as well as those who have no insurance.
In February, Senator Cardin co-sponsored the
Access for All Americans Act
, which would authorize $8.3 billion to expand the number of FQHC from 1,100 to 4,800 in five years. The legislation also would strengthen the National Health Service Corps by authorizing $1.2 billion. The substantial increase in funding would address a serious doctor, dentist and nursing shortage in the United States by expanding the effort to recruit and train health care professionals. The corps provides debt forgiveness and grants for medical and dental students in exchange for practicing in underserved areas.