Thousands of people in Nevada, including the homeless, are expected to benefit from $1.2 million in Affordable Care Act (ACA) funding to expand nonprofit community health centers.
Luis Alfonso Rocha is executive director of the Firstmed Health and Wellness Center in Las Vegas, which along with Nevada Health Centers is sharing the grant. He says it will pay for much needed expansion of health services for underserved populations.
“We offer primary care, family practice, dental,” he states. “We specialize also in HIV and mental health, substance abuse – so it’s a pretty comprehensive center.”
Rocha says currently there is little in terms of community health care to serve the homeless populations in Las Vegas and throughout the state.
He says the funding is not a one-time thing, but will be granted to the health centers each year and will pay for at least one new Firstmed Health and Wellness Center clinic in the Las Vegas area.
Lisa Dettling is vice president for mission strategy with the Nevada Health Centers, which operates community health centers around the state. She says her organization is also planning on using the federal money to build a new clinic in the Las Vegas area.
Dettling adds community health centers everywhere help keep health care costs down by treating people before their health conditions require expensive hospital care.
“So ultimately our goal is to keep them in a primary-care setting, see them frequently, have them have a primary care home and use us as their health care resource instead of waiting until they’re very, very ill and need more expensive care,” she explains.
Health and Human Services is providing more than $100 million in Affordable Care Act funding to about 160 new health center sites in 33 states, which are projected to increase access to health care services for nearly 650,000 patients.