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Angie Drobnic Holan
By Angie Drobnic Holan July 7, 2009

Stimulus money goes to community health centers

First lady Michelle Obama visited a Washington, D.C., health center on June 29, 2009, to announce $851 million in funding for health care centers nationwide for primary and preventive care.

Mrs. Obama said community health centers help people manage chronic conditions like obesity, diabetes, heart disease and high-blood pressure so that patients don't need acute medical care.

"They stay out of the hospital, they stay out of the emergency room, which is the most costly way to receive care in this country, and they stay on the job and in school instead — a win-win situation," Mrs. Obama said. "Health centers are community catalysts that improve lives, and that's why this investment is so critical."

The money is from the economic stimulus, also known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Recovery Act grants will support the construction, repair and renovation of over 1,500 health center sites nationwide. More than 650 centers will use the funds to purchase new equipment or health information technology systems, and nearly 400 health centers will adopt and expand the use of electronic health records, according to the White House.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services administers funds for the health centers, which serve more than 17 million patients, about 40 percent of whom have no health insurance, at 7,500 sites around the country, according to the department.

President Barack Obama's original promise was pretty broad. He merely said he would "increase funding" to expand community-based health care, so the $851 million clearly fulfills that pledge. We rate it a Promise Kept.

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