The Squirrel Hill Health Center in Pittsburgh is one of many community health centers that will see a significant funding increase under the health overhaul law, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "Probably the biggest provision in the reform package is $11 billion earmarked for new funding for the community health centers program over five years beginning in fiscal year 2011, which starts in October. A total of $9.5 billion of the amount is for the health centers to expand their operations to serve nearly 20 million new patients. The remaining $1.5 billion will be allocated for expanding existing facilities and to build new ones."
Community health centers are eagerly awaiting the increased funding as more people have come to rely on their services during the economic recession. "Contributions have gone down, but demand has gone up. There are more people, but less money," David Brewton, associate executive director of the East Liberty Family Health Care Center, told the Post-Gazette. And community health centers expect to see even more people looking for their services under the health reform law. Officials note that "when the state of Massachusetts went to a universal health care system, people expected the reliance on community health centers to go down. Instead, the opposite happened" (Smith, 4/7).