This week the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded $966,305 to 14 health centers within Idaho as part of the Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act.
"Health Center recipients in Idaho may use these awards to address screening and testing needs, acquire medical supplies and boost their telehealth capacity in response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic," according to a press release from the Department of Health and Human Services.
One of the medical centers receiving aid is Upper Valley Community Health Services, Inc. also known as Grand Peak's Medical, Dental and Behavioral Health. CEO Lori Sessions said they received $62,632. The business is located at 20 North Third East, St. Anthony.
"We appreciate the funds to be able to further assist the patients in our community," she said.
Sessions said the money will be used to purchase more personal protection equipment that includes masks, gowns, gloves, and sanitizer. It also helped them go online with telehealth options by purchasing computers and other equipment. They have it up and running for behavioral health patients and for the elderly who can't make it into the facility.
According to the press release, on March 6, President Donald Trump signed the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020. It provides $8.3 billion in emergency funding for federal agencies specifically to address the pandemic. This includes $100 million for health centers funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration across the nation. The funding is immediately available.
“HRSA-funded health centers have been and will be critical players in our national response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “The new grants we’re releasing today are a rapid injection of resources secured by President Trump from Congress in the supplemental funding bill, building on the strong investments HHS has made in health centers over the years. President Trump has emphasized a whole-of-government, whole-of-America response to the pandemic, and these grants will help health centers, which know the needs and resources of their communities best, to play their part.”
The money is supposed to help health centers take proactive steps to tackle this ever-changing pandemic.
“HRSA-funded health centers provide high-quality primary care services to 28 million people in the United States. That is 1 in 12 people nationwide. These grantees operate 13,000 service delivery sites that are lifelines to services and networks of resources in their communities every day, and especially during a crisis,” said HRSA Administrator Tom Engels. “HRSA-funded health centers will receive this funding as quickly as possible so they can maintain their ability to deliver quality primary health care services to their patients while responding to developing needs in their communities.”