Cumberland Times-News

May 11, 2013

Oakland health center gets federal grant

From Staff Reports
Cumberland Times-News

— OAKLAND — U.S. Sens. Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin along with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced new funds to help more uninsured Marylanders enroll in affordable health insurance coverage made available by the Affordable Care Act, according to a news release.

In Maryland, an estimated $1.6 million is available to support 16 community health centers including the Western Maryland Health Care Corp. on Memorial Drive in Oakland. The funds will give the centers the ability to hire staff and enroll people in affordable health plans.

“Community health centers provide an important safety net for the people who need it most,” Mikulski said in the news release. “This is especially important in these economically trying times when there is more need and fewer resources. These Affordable Care Act funds will help community health centers keep their doors open to make sure families have access to reliable health care in their own neighborhoods, while at the same time creating and sustaining good-paying jobs.”

Almost 300,000 Marylanders get their health care through federally backed community health centers, according to the news release.

“Community health centers are the backbone to providing quality health care to more than 290,000 Marylanders,” said Cardin, who is a longtime supporter of increased funding for community health centers.  “This announcement of almost $1.7 million for Maryland will make it possible for the 16 health centers around our state to reach out to insured Marylanders, making sure they have the health coverage they need to stay healthy.”

Maryland’s community health centers will be able to hire new staff, train existing staff and conduct community outreach events and other educational activities, according to the news release.  Community health centers help consumers understand their coverage options, determine their eligibility and enroll in new affordable health insurance options.

The staff provides unbiased information to consumers about health insurance, the new Health Insurance Marketplace, qualified health plans, and Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

This funding opportunity was issued by the Health Re-sources and Services Administration and it complements and aligns with other federal efforts, such as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services-funded Navigator program.

“Health centers have extensive experience providing eligibility assistance to patients, are providing care to 291,579 individuals in Maryland communities and are well-positioned to support enrollment efforts,”  said Sebelius.