Some health centers may see extra funding

WASHINGTON – Ritchie County Primary Care Associates Inc. in Harrisville and Minnie Hamilton Health Care Center Inc. in Grantsville are listed among 27 West Virginia health care centers eligible for supplemental new funds to help more uninsured enroll in affordable health insurance coverage.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has announced 27 West Virginia health centers are eligible for the supplemental funding, which totals more than $2.4 million.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the new funds are being made available to help more uninsured Americans enroll in affordable health insurance coverage made available by the Affordable Care Act. Nationwide, funding of approximately $150 million will expand the efforts at community health centers to provide in-person assistance to help enroll uninsured individuals into affordable health insurance coverage.

“Health centers have extensive experience providing eligibility assistance to patients, are providing care to 382,182 individuals in West Virginia communities and are well-positioned to support enrollment efforts,” said Sebelius.

With these new funds, health centers will be able to hire new staff, train existing staff and conduct community outreach events and other educational activities. Health centers will help consumers understand their coverage options, determine their eligibility and enroll in new affordable health insurance options, according to health officials.

Community health center staff can provide information to consumers about health insurance, the new Health Insurance Marketplace, qualified health plans and Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

This funding opportunity was issued by the Health Resources and Services Administration.

“Health centers work in communities across the country, giving them a unique opportunity to reach the uninsured in their communities and help connect them with the benefits of health insurance coverage under the health care law,” said U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration Administrator Mary Wakefield.

HRSA’s community health center program includes more than 1,200 health centers that operate nearly 9,000 service delivery sites nationwide and serve approximately 21 million patients each year.