Winters Healthcare among recipients of HHS awards

The new Winters Healthcare Foundation building will undoubtedly become a community icon, much like the water tower. (Express File Photo)

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On Monday, Aug. 8, during National Health Center Week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded $12,308,986 in American Rescue Plan funding to 188 community health centers in California through the Health Resources and Services Administration to advance health equity through better data collection and reporting.

On Friday, Aug. 5, President Biden issued a proclamation on National Health Center Week to recognize the vital role health centers play in safeguarding the well-being of Americans and honor the heroic staff who keep these facilities running.

Winters Healthcare Foundations, Inc in Winters was listed among the recipients. View the entire list at https://tinyurl.com/2p9yuap5.

The Biden-Harris Administration has been committed to ensuring an equitable pandemic response and recovery, and these awards will help strengthen efforts to eliminate inequities in COVID-19 care and outcomes within communities of color and other underserved populations. The nearly $90 million in funding announced nationally today also builds on the $7.6 billion invested from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan to strengthen the health center workforce, renovate facilities, and equip them with essential COVID-19 medical supplies over the past year.

“We have prioritized advancing equity in our COVID-19 response and throughout all of our work,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Community health centers have played a pivotal role in the nation’s COVID-19 response, and now serve more than 30 million people across the country. Today’s investments will help ensure that all patients have equitable access to the high-quality health care they deserve.”

Funding supports a data modernization effort aimed at better identifying and responding to the specific needs of patients and communities through improved data quality; advancing COVID-19 response, mitigation, and recovery efforts; and helping prepare for future public health emergencies.

HRSA’s initiative is designed to enable health centers to have better data on both patient health status and social determinants of health. With better information, programs can tailor their efforts to improve health outcomes and advance health equity by more precisely targeting the needs of specific communities or patients, particularly as part of the public health emergency response.

“Time and again, the COVID pandemic has demonstrated the vital role of trusted community leaders in delivering health care services,” said HRSA Administrator Carole Johnson. “Health centers are that trusted resource in the highest risk and hardest hit communities in the country. As we recognize the heroic work of the frontline health care workers who make health centers what they are, today we also are investing in the tools they need to help them continue to best serve their communities.”

The nearly 1,400 HRSA-funded community health centers in this country serve as a national source of primary care in underserved communities. They are community-based and patient-directed organizations that deliver affordable, accessible, and high-quality medical, dental, and behavioral health services to more than 30 million patients each year, with specific initiatives intended to reach people experiencing homelessness, agricultural workers, and residents of public housing.

In 2021, HRSA-funded health centers provided care for one in five residents in rural areas and one in 11 people nationwide. One in three health center patients are living in poverty, and nearly two-thirds are racial/ethnic minorities.

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