HHS Awards More Than $21 Million to Support Health Centers’ COVID-19 Response

Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), awarded more than $21 million to support health centers’ COVID-19 response efforts. The majority of this investment—$17 million—supports 78 Health Center Program look-alikes (LALs) with funding to expand capacity for COVID-19 testing.

Due to the urgent need across the country to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, funding to expand capacity for COVID-19 testing is being made available to LALs through the Health Center Program. These LALs operate and provide services consistent with HRSA Health Center Program requirements; however, unlike HRSA-funded health centers, LAL operations are funded through mechanisms outside of the HRSA Health Center Program.

“As part of the Trump Administration’s focus on underserved communities during the pandemic, we’re sending funds to a broader set of care delivery sites associated with health centers for the first time,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “These funds build on the more than $2 billion we’ve awarded to HRSA-funded health centers to combat COVID-19 and will help even more Americans have access to COVID-19 testing in their communities.”

Currently, nearly 88 percent of LALs report conducting COVID-19 testing in their communities, and 56 percent offer walk-up or drive-up testing. With this funding, LALs will expand the range of testing and testing-related activities to best address the needs of their communities, including the purchase of personal protective equipment; training for staff; outreach, procurement and administration of tests; laboratory services; notifying identified contacts of infected health center patients of their exposure to COVID-19; and the expansion of walk-up or drive-up testing capabilities.

“Overall, HRSA-funded health centers and look-alikes are currently providing more than 190,000 weekly COVID-19 tests in their local communities,” said HRSA Administrator Tom Engels. “This funding builds on the Trump Administration’s health center investments by expanding the availability of testing and testing-related activities in communities across the country.”

HRSA also awarded over $4.5 million to support the COVID-19 response of Health Center Controlled Networks (HCCNs). HCCNs support health centers to improve quality of care and patient safety by using health information technology to reduce costs and improve care coordination. The funding will strengthen health IT support necessary for participating health centers to effectively prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19.

For a list of FY 2020 Health Center Program Look-Alikes: Expanding Capacity for Coronavirus Testing award recipients, visit: https://bphc.hrsa.gov/program-opportunities/expanding-capacity-coronavirus-testing-look-alikes-fy2020-awards.

For a list of Health Center Controlled Networks COVID-19 Supplemental Funding award recipients, visit: https://bphc.hrsa.gov/program-opportunities/hccn/fy2020-awards.

To learn more about health center capacity and the impact of COVID-19 on health center operations, patients and staff, visit https://bphc.hrsa.gov/emergency-response/coronavirus-health-center-data.

For more information about Health Center Program look-alikes, visit https://bphc.hrsa.gov/programopportunities/lookalike/index.html.

For more information about Health Center Controlled Networks, visit https://bphc.hrsa.gov/program-opportunities/hccn

For more information about COVID-19, visit https://coronavirus.gov/.