San­ders An­nounces $1.2 Mil­lion in Health Cen­ter Funds for Sub­stance Abuse Treat­ment in Ver­mont

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS - Burling­ton, VT

U.S. Sen. Bernie San­ders to­day an­nounced the Depart­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices awarded $1,240,794 to four com­mu­nity health cen­ters in Ver­mont. The health cen­ters will use this new fed­eral fund­ing to ex­pand ac­cess to sub­stance abuse treat­ment.

The Ver­mont awards are part of $94 mil­lion to im­prove and ex­pand the de­liv­ery of sub­stance abuse ser­vices an­nounced to­day by HHS for 271 com­mu­nity health cen­ters in 45 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The funds were au­tho­rized by a San­ders pro­vi­sion in the Af­ford­able Care Act that pro­vided $11 bil­lion in fund­ing for com­mu­nity health cen­ters across the coun­try. “The opi­oid abuse epi­demic is a tragedy in Ver­mont and all across the coun­try. Th­ese much­needed awards will al­low our com­mu­nity health cen­ters to serve even more peo­ple who des­per­ately need ac­cess to ser­vices and treat­ment for ad­dic­tion,” said San­ders, who serves as the rank­ing mem­ber of the Se­nate Sub­com­mit­tee on Pri­mary Health. “I am pleased to see sig­nif­i­cant in­creases in the num­ber of pa­tients ac­cess­ing health care at com­mu­nity health cen­ters.”

This year, Fed­er­ally Qual­i­fied Health Cen­ters in Ver­mont will serve one in four Ver­mon­ters at more than 50 sites across the state. In 2006, fewer than 10 per­cent of Ver­mont res­i­dents re­ceived their health care at com­mu­nity health cen­ters. Health cen­ters

de­liver pri­mary med­i­cal, oral and men­tal health care ser­vices on a slid­ing fee scale. They also pro­vide low-cost pre­scrip­tion drugs to pa­tients cov­ered by Medi­care, Med­i­caid and pri­vate in­sur­ance, as well as those with­out in­sur­ance.

“Al­though I am very pleased with to­day’s an­nounce­ment, mil­lions of Amer­i­cans still do not have ac­cess to the pri­mary care and sub­stance abuse treat­ment they need,” San­ders said. “Congress must con­tinue to pro­tect and ex­pand com­mu­nity health cen­ters to en­sure peo­ple in Ver­mont and through­out the United States have ac­cess to health care.”

The fol­low­ing Ver­mont health cen­ters re­ceived awards to­day: Com­mu­nity Health Cen­ters of Burling­ton, Burling­ton, $243,815 Com­mu­nity Health Cen­ters of the Rut­land Re­gion, Rut­land, $325,000 Gif­ford Health Care, Ran­dolph, $325,000 North­ern Coun­ties Health Care, Saint Johns­bury, $346,979

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