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Health Centers and the Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act: The Essential Role of Community Health Centers

Health centers have played an essential role in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and continue to be a critical element of the nation’s health system. Health centers are a vital source of primary care for millions of insured and medically underserved patients seeking a quality source of care in every state, territory and in the District of Columbia.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) established the Community Health Center Fund that provided $11 billion over a 5-year period for the operation, expansion, and construction of health centers throughout the Nation.

  • $9.5 billion was targeted to:
    • Support ongoing health center operations.
    • Create new health center sites in medically underserved areas.
    • Expand preventive and primary health care services, including oral health, behavioral health, pharmacy, and/or enabling services, at existing health center sites.
  • $1.5 billion supported major construction and renovation projects at community health centers nationwide.

Over the last five years, Affordable Care Act funding has supported:

  • More than 950 new access points/health center service delivery sites,
  • Nearly 700 capital development and immediate facility improvement grants for the expansion and improvement of primary care service sites,
  • Quality improvement awards to more than 1,100 health centers to recognize  health center achievements at the highest levels of clinical quality performance and improvement,
  • Awards to support more than 900 health centers recognized as Patient Centered Medical Homes and increasing team-based models of care,
  • More than 290 expanded HIV treatment and care grants,
  • Outreach and enrollment activities in over 1,200 health centers nationwide,
  • More than 40 health center controlled networks to promote health information technology and EHR adoption,
  • Ongoing health center operations in more than 1,300 health centers nationwide