Project Funded by $10.9 Million from Federal Stimulus Program
BURLINGTON, Vt., Sept. 27 - U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) participated today in a ground-breaking ceremony at the Community Health Center of Burlington, which last December won $10.9 million in federal stimulus funds for construction of a new building that will double the center's size and allow it to serve more patients throughout Chittenden County.
"We are making significant progress in improving access to affordable primary health care in Vermont. In the last few years we have gone from two Federally Qualified Health Centers to eight, and now more than 108,000 Vermonters get their primary care at these centers," Sanders said.
- Funding for the Burlington project: The expansion is being funded with $10.9 million from the federal stimulus program, which included health center funding at Sanders' request. The total project cost is $11.3 million.
- Expanding the number of patients: The expansion will allow the Burlington health care center to treat another 3,500 patients. That's a 25 percent increase over the 13,000 seen now.
- Vermont now has eight federally-qualified health care centers, In addition to the funds for the Burlington facility, $10 million in federal stimulus funding is being devoted to the other centers to hire more staff and renovate facilities.
- Sanders authored provisions in the health reform law that will provide $11 billion over the next five years to double the number of health centers in this country from 7,500 sites to 15,000 sites. Another $2 billion in was included in last year's federal stimulus bill for Federally Qualified Health Centers, such as the Burlington health center. Sanders, a member of the health committee, fought to double the health center funding.
- As the number of sites increase, the number of Americans who have access to affordable primary care, dental care, mental health counseling and low-cost prescription drugs will increase from 20 million to 40 million Americans.
- Vermont has the highest percentage of population getting care at community health centers of any state in the union. More than 108,000 Vermonters go to health centers at 41 sites throughout the state.
- Applications are being submitted by Addison and Bennington Counties this year to develop federally qualified health care centers.