Rep. Sewell Announces over $350,000 for Coronavirus Support Funding for 7th District Community Health Centers
March 29, 2020
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07) announced today more than $350,000 in coronavirus supplemental funding for Community Health Centers (CHCs) in Alabama’s 7th Congressional District. The funding is part of the total $100 million appropriated for CHCs in the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, which was Congress’ first response to COVID-19, enacted on March 6th.
“Our Community Health Centers are critical in our fight against the coronavirus, especially in the rural parts of our district. These important health providers are already being stressed beyond capacity,” Sewell said. “That is why I am pleased this vital funding is being distributed quickly to help our Community Health Centers tackle this virus. We will continue to work to ensure that all our health providers get more federal resources to fight this pandemic.”
“Our health center primarily serves individuals who are at very high risk for COVID-19 infection, including patients who are experiencing homelessness or are addicted to heroin and other drugs,” said Christopher Retan, CEO of Aletheia House. “These funds will enable us to provide patients who are infected with the care they need, and prevent the spread of the disease to others in the community. We are deeply grateful to Rep. Sewell for her leadership in advocating for this funding.”
“Whatley Health Services, Inc. is very appreciative for the more than $91,000 in funding to help us fight the coronavirus and for our Congresswoman, Terri Sewell, for always advocating for us and the much-needing people of West Alabama,” said David Gay, CEO of Whatley Health Services. “Whatley began testing for coronavirus today, and testing will be on Mondays and Wednesdays from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. by appointment only. Appointments can be made by calling (205) 614-6240.”
“Just over two weeks ago, we had no available COVID testing for our 18,596 patients, nearly half of whom are uninsured. Rather than wait, we ran to the need believing it is our duty join in the suffering of our neighbors that together we might find healing. In the past two weeks, we have tested thousands of patients and built a safe-pod clinic to ensure we can treat sick patients,” said Dr. Robert Rex Record, CEO of Christ Health Center. “Thank you to our Alabama delegation and Congresswoman Sewell for connecting with us throughout this crisis and for working together to pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to make sure we can meet the needs of more patients.”
“On behalf of the Rural Health Medical Program, I, Keshee Dozier-Smith, and the board members would like to thank HHS, Representative Sewell and our Senators for the consideration and granting of the COVID-19 relief funding to help aid us during this time, and to help position our organization to best serve our rural counties across Alabama’s Black Belt,” said Keshee Dozier-Smith, CEO of Rural Health Medical Program. “We have actively participated in county-wide town halls to understand community leaders’ and organizations needs within their counties, and are working diligently to position ourselves to best provide health care and tangible needs during this time. Our plan is to remain an active and accessible Community Health Center providing access to primary and preventative health care to our community members, service as COVID-19 Patient Care Coordinators. Our goal is to ensure that any patient – insured or uninsured – that does not have a primary care provider is able to select Rural Health as their PCP, now and in the future. We do have plans to eventually become a testing site, but at this time we are developing a strategic plan on how to ensure we have the proper PPE and position ourselves in counties within our service are that do not have testing facilities.”
“Alabama Regional Medical Services will be utilizing these funds to expand our telemedicine services throughout our network of health centers. Several of our providers and administrative staff will be deployed to work from home in an effort to increase the mandated social distancing requirements and continue to provide quality primary healthcare, and behavioral health services,” said Anthony Gardner, CEO of Alabama Regional Medical Services. “These dollars will also be utilized to enhance our population health and data management solutions that our internal patient care coordinators use to track patients who have been tested and diagnosed with coronavirus and various other chronic diseases.”
Congress has passed three packages to address the COVID-19 public health crisis. The first package provides $8.3 billion in supplemental grants and expanded telemedicine services to CHCs for the development of treatments and prevention, preparedness and response measures. The third coronavirus package, the CARES Act, which was passed into law on Friday, provides an additional $1.32 billion in supplemental funding to community health centers on the front lines of testing and treating patients for COVID-19 and allows Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) (including CHCs) and Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) to provide telehealth services to Medicare beneficiaries, including in the beneficiaries’ homes to avoid potential exposure to COVID-19.
Here is a list of the current grant recipients in the 7th District: