By Amy Simmons
First Lady Michelle Obama visited one of Washington’s major Community Health Centers today, just a few short miles from the White House. The First Lady used the stop at Unity Health Care, Inc. in Upper Cardozo to announce a grant of $2.5 million to the health center and the release of $851 million total in Recovery Act grants to address immediate and pressing health center facility and equipment needs and increase access to care.
“As the President and Congress begin to tackle health care reform, the flag is being raised on the costly effects of preventable diseases that burden our health care system,” said the First Lady in remarks during her visit. “Community Health Centers like Upper Cardozo, Unity Health Care are a vital component for this discussion.”
Obama met with Unity’s staff and patients, and, according to our spies, talked about a range of issues that included with childhood obesity, teen pregnancy and early literacy. The $2.5 million to the 40-year-old health center site at Upper Cardozo Center will allow it to build 20 new exam rooms able to handle 24 percent more patients. The construction of new clinic space at the Upper Cardozo center will also help create jobs in construction and renovation.
And that’s the story nationwide: health care access and jobs. The Recovery Act Capital Improvement Program (CIP) grants will support the construction, repair and renovation of over 1,500 health center sites. More than 650 centers will use the funds to purchase new equipment or health information technology (HIT) systems, and nearly 400 health centers will adopt and expand the use of electronic health records.
To see a list of Recovery Act CIP grantees by state, go to www.hhs.gov/recovery.