Community health centers in Massachusetts will see an infusion of $36.5 million statewide, with several key facilities in Dorchester and Mattapan included in the funding awards through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under CARES Act.
Boston community health centers that will receive funding include:
East Boston Neighborhood Health Center Corporation- $2,181,785
DotHouse Health, Inc.-$841,610
Harbor Health Services, Inc. - $1,101,650 (which includes the Daniel Driscoll Neponset Health Center and Geiger-Gibson in Dorchester.)
Whittier Street Health Center - $947,975
Codman Square Health Center, Inc. - $919,250
Mattapan Community Health Center, Inc.- $679,325
Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers Inc.- $568,745
Uphams Corner Health Center - $717,140
Harvard Street Neighborhood Health Center, Inc.- $625,925
Chuck Jones, President and CEO of Harbor Health Services which includes Geiger Gibson Community Health Center and Daniel Driscoll-Neponset Health Center in Dorchester, said that although staff is grateful for the funds, they will not cover a full month's worth of losses.
"The CARES Act funding will help to alleviate some of the financial pain that the current crisis has caused for community health centers. Harbor has had to make some very difficult decisions and major changes over the past month. For safety we had to stop offering dental services and furlough staff," Jones said in a statement.
"We had to respond to needs of our patients with a new option for having an appointment over the phone or through video. While we are grateful for this funding, it will cover less than a month’s worth of losses even after furloughing a quarter of our staff."
Jones said that Community Health Centers play an important role in the COVID-19 crisis. "Community health centers are especially important during this crisis because COVID-19 is having a disproportionate impact on the communities we serve. Continued support from private and government sources is absolutely essential to sustaining our work and delivering care when the people in our communities need us most," said Jones.
Sen. Ed Markey said he was excited to announce the funding for community health centers, but said more work must be done to secure additional funding.
"For many Americans, community health centers are their only access point for health care. This funding will ensure that as we combat this viral enemy, our Massachusetts community health centers remain an integral component of our social safety net,” said Senator Ed Markey. “I will continue to push for the next round of economic relief to include additional funding for community health centers so that they can care for patients during this health emergency."
Last month, Senator Warren and Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley led 165 lawmakers in calling on House and Senate leadership to dramatically increase long-term funding for community health centers in the third coronavirus legislative package.
Pressley said that the COVID-19 crisis has strained community health centers.
"The Massachusetts 7th Congressional District is home to the largest concentration of Community Health Centers with 15 federally qualified health centers that serve 1 in 3 residents in my district,” Pressley said in a statement.
"I've met and spoken with many of our amazing Community Health Center leaders and providers during this pandemic and I am grateful for their passionate and courageous service to the most vulnerable in our society -- especially under such difficult circumstances, " said Congressman Stephen Lynch.