Dayton-area health centers get federal grants to help with coronavirus expenses

Five Rivers Health Centers. FILE

Credit: Contributed

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Five Rivers Health Centers. FILE

Credit: Contributed

Two Dayton-area community health centers were recently awarded federal grants.

Community Health Centers of Greater Dayton and Five Rivers Health Centers, which see patients regardless of their ability to pay, were respectively awarded $3.2 million and $4.4 million via the American Rescue Plan.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services stated the health centers will be able to use the funds to support and expand COVID-19 vaccination, testing, and treatment for vulnerable populations; deliver needed preventive and primary health care services to those 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.

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This investment “will help increase access to vaccinations among hard-hit populations, as well as confidence in the vaccine by empowering local, trusted health professionals in their efforts to expand vaccinations,” HHS stated.

U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, said in an announcement that Five Rivers Health Centers was also awarded $1.9 million in federal funding through Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, which appropriated funding to the Department of Health and Human Services.

“With this grant, Five Rivers Health Center can invest in needed upgrades and address the evolving medical needs of our community during the pandemic,” Turner said.

“Five Rivers Health Centers is thrilled to receive this nearly $2 million grant, which will support needed improvements and additional healthcare services for our patients,” Five Rivers Health Centers CEO Gina McFarlane-El said.

Five Rivers staff said the goal is to use these funds for many different COVID-related projects and improvements. Ideally, the health center will hire additional staff to serve with the COVID-19 vaccination team, as it’s been challenging to pull existing staff members away from ongoing, regular patient care areas in order to administer vaccines to hundreds of people each week. In addition, the health center plans to use these dollars for PPE, technology and other systems to help meet COVID testing and vaccination needs.

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