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Stimulus dollars aid Valley-Wide Health Systems

Posted: Friday, Mar 27th, 2009


announced Friday


ALAMOSA — Valley-Wide Health Systems, Inc. in Alamosa will receive more than half a million dollars thanks to American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding announced on Friday.

U.S. Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet, and U.S. Representatives John Salazar, Diana DeGette, Ed Perlmutter, Betsy Markey and Jared Polis, announced an additional $7.53 million in funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for many of Colorado’s community health centers. The community health centers have applied for these funds and they have flexibility in how to spend the money. Uses may include expanding hours or services, and adding new providers.

Valley-Wide will receive $544,337 as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act disbursements.

“Community health centers are vital part of health care in rural Colorado,” said Congressman Salazar who represents the 3rd Congressional District that includes the San Luis Valley. “This is great news today for these important health services.”

The economic recovery package passed in February set aside an additional $500 million for community health centers nationwide. On March 2 President Barack Obama announced that the first amount funding would be released to brand new community health centers totaling $155 million nationwide. Peak Vista Community Health Centers were the only Colorado health centers to receive any funding and they received $1.3 million.

On Friday President Obama announced that the second amount of funding of the $500 million total would be released to new and existing community health centers totaling $338 million nationwide. This funding is a one-time, two-year payment that falls under fiscal year 2009 distributed through the Health Resources and Services Administration.

“At a time when premiums are going up and workers are losing their jobs and their health insurance, community health centers are critical to ensure families can continue to see a doctor when they need to,” said Senator Udall. “These economic recovery funds will go a long way to ensure these facilities are able to provide quality, affordable health care to Coloradans impacted by this economic downturn.”

“This is good news for Colorado’s community health centers. This money will allow our health centers to continue providing quality medical care for Colorado communities in need,” said Senator Bennet. “These are tough economic times and the money from the economic recovery package will help to keep Colorado’s community health centers out of the red.”

All the community health centers in Colorado receiving grants through this disbursement previously submitted plans to HRSA explaining how they would use the funding. Community health centers nationwide apply for an “Increased Demand for Services” application to show how they would strategically use potential funding from the federal government. Strategies to expand services may include, but are not limited to, adding new providers, expanding hours of operations or expanding services.

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