PLAINFIELD, Vt., Sept. 17 - U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today participated in a dedication ceremony for a $1.2 million expansion of the Plainfield Health Center.
"As chairman of the subcommittee on primary health care, I am proud that we have helped lead the fight to more than double funding for community health centers to address the primary health crisis in Vermont and America," Sanders said.
Sanders secured $12.5 billion in the Affordable Care Act to expand health centers across the country, deploy more doctors, dentists and other health care professionals in underserved areas and double, to 40 million, the number of patients who have access to affordable primary care, dental care, mental health counseling and low-cost prescription drugs.
The Health Center of Plainfield was awarded $988,700 in federal funds to cover most of the $1.2 million construction project. A new building expanded the center's mental health practice from three to seven offices. The federal money also helped build a garage for a mobile dental unit which serves patients in Plainfield and four other community health centers in Vermont.
In the past decade, Vermont has gone from having two Federally Qualified Health Centers to eight, including 47 sites where more than 120,000 Vermonters get primary health care, dental care, mental health counseling and low-cost prescription drugs.
Nearly one in five Vermonters now get primary care from a community health center. Vermont ranks second only to West Virginia in the share of the states' populations cared for at health centers.
Open to everyone, the centers provide high-quality, cost-effective care to patients regardless of their ability to pay, whether they are covered by Medicaid, Medicare, private insurance, or no insurance. Payments are on a sliding scale, so people with low or moderate incomes can afford the services.