REGION: Community clinics to get $10M in federal grants

By Laura Chilaka and Claire Veyriras

California New Service

San Diego County health centers will receive nearly $10 million to expand service to tens of thousands of uninsured, immigrant and needy patients, officials with the Department ofHealth and Human Services announced Tuesday.

The grants are part of a $728 million nationwide program contained in the 2009 health care bill to help community health programs expand their capacity by new construction and renovating existing centers.

Among the largest recipients is the North County Health Project, which provides care to roughly 60,000 mostly uninsured patients at 12 locations throughout the county. The clinic received a $5 million grant.

Neighborhood Healthcare, which began as an all-volunteer neighborhood clinic in Escondido, received a $3.2 million grant.

Nearly one in six dollars —- roughly $122 million —- will go to California, aimed primarily at rural areas with large, underserved populations. A clinic in Campo, for example, a small town of less than 3,000 inhabitants just a few miles from the Mexican border, was granted $5.5 million.

The White House distributed a list of grant winners state by state in order to highlight benefits stemming from the Affordable Care Act.

“President Obama’s health care law is making community health centers in California stronger,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius said in a statement distributed to news outlets.

Other local recipients include the Borrego Community Health Foundation, the Family Health Centers of San Diego and San Diego Family Care which each received grants of $500,000.

The nationwide program aims to increase the quality and quantity of community health care, which is the primary point of entry for most patients into the health care system. Nationwide, the money will expand access to an additional 860,000 patients, according the announcement by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Tuesday’s announcement is part of the health care law’s provision of $11 billion to expand and bolster community health centers over five years. The Department of Health and Human Services says it has already supported the construction and renovation of 190 health centers and the creation of 67 new health centers.

The California News Service is a journalism project of the University of California Washington Center and the UC Berkeley School of Journalism. E-mail the California News Service at

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