Eleven Illinois health centers were awarded grants Wednesday under the Affordable Care Act to extend care to more patients.
The Illinois grants total nearly $6.5 million and include awards to health centers in Chicago, Bloomington, East St. Louis, Galesburg and Springfield.
The Illinois grants are part of $128.6 million in grants in 41 states announced in Detroit on Wednesday by U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The grants will go to 219 health centers across the country, extending access to more than 1.25 million additional patients.
The money allows a Chicago health center, Centro de Salud Esperanza, to see more than 2,500 new patients and hire an OB-GYN, said Daniel Fulwiler, CEO of the center in southwest Chicago.
"It's a super exciting day for us," Fulwiler said. The Chicago clinic becomes a federally qualified health center with the award, which will allow the center to get OB-GYN malpractice insurance coverage through the government. The expense of malpractice insurance has prevented the center from hiring an OB-GYN in the past, Fulwiler said.
Health center officials said they are pleased the grants came ahead of the Supreme Court decision expected later this month on key aspects of the federal health care law that critics have labeled "Obamacare." The Supreme Court could overturn the entire law, among other possible outcomes, which might jeopardize future grant funding.
The Illinois health organizations awarded grants are: