Hudson Headwaters Health Network, which operates 21 community health centers, has been awarded a $12.7 million, two-year grant to treat its COVID-19-scarred Lake George-Adirondack-North Country regions.
On March 25, the Biden administration announced that its American Rescue Plan included $6.1 billion for federally-qualified health centers “to prevent, mitigate and respond to COVID-19 and to expand health care services and infrastructure.”
According to a press release from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the funds can be used “to expand COVID-19 vaccinations, testing, and treatment for vulnerable populations; deliver preventive and primary health care services to people at higher risk for COVID-19; and expand health centers’ operational capacity during the pandemic and beyond, including modifying and improving physical infrastructure and adding mobile units.”
“HRSA will provide funding starting in April to nearly 1,400 centers across the country,” the press release stated, adding that health centers such as Hudson Headwaters serve one in five people living in rural communities.
According to the HRSA, grants were allocated according to a formula based in part on the numbers of patients – insured and uninsured – served by the health centers.
Nearly $400 million has been awarded to 63 health centers in New York State.
Sean Phillpot-Jones, Hudson Headwaters’ Vice President of Grants Management, said the network would, in all likelihood, use the new funds to finance the kinds of projects and programs that were supported by the $1.9 million it received from the federal government last spring to help defray the costs of combating the Coronavirus disease.
“We used the money from earlier stimulus and recovery packages in a variety of ways,” he said. “For example, we upgraded our phone systems and broadband and purchased telecommunications equipment, including tablets and computers for providers, so that we could better practice tele-health. We now have the capability to provide video and audio visits in all 21 of our health centers.”
Phillpot-Jones continued, “We’re serving the needs of the larger community, testing and delivering vaccinations for COVID-19, while, at the same time, continuing to provide primary care through as many as 7,500 patient visits per week. Staff is working overtime in order to make certain that we can continue to care for our patients with chronic conditions. So a lot of money has been dedicated to covering the increased costs of staffing.”
“This recently announced funding is welcome news,” said Jane Hooper, the network’s Community Relations Manager. “Hudson Headwaters continues to serve on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic while providing the primary care services that are the cornerstone of our mission. This funding will help us sustain the health care professionals and services that our communities depend upon.”