A $1.2 million expansion of the Plainfield Health Center was dedicated on Monday. It is the latest example of progress under a $12.5 billion provision in the Affordable Care Act to double the number of patients nationwide who have access to affordable primary care, dental care, mental health counseling and low-cost prescription drugs and to deploy more doctors, dentists and other health care professionals in underserved areas. "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," Sen. Bernie Sanders said.
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.