Expanding Access to Community Health Centers
Ahead of a possible ruling from the Supreme Court, speculation is running wild about the fate of healthcare reform. However one piece of the puzzle that has been somewhat prominent despite commentary from all camps is that of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Recently the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that awards totaling $128.6 million would be made available for more than 41 health centers across the country to expand healthcare services in many communities.
The funds, a part of the ACA, will allow community health centers to build and renovate to offer access to healthcare for the many people in rural or poor neighborhoods. This will provide vitally needed services for patients, increase jobs for staff, and try to help alleviate the problem of over-burdened emergency rooms, according to Sebelius.
Addressing the shortage of mental health and primary care, as well as dental health is going to take a many-pronged approach. The fact that some people in rural areas are forced to drive more than 100 miles to receive these services is a sobering thought. It also places a greater strain on the cost of providing care. Designing smarter, smaller buildings will offer a wider range of help where the patient can be offered a “one-stop-shop” of health services, with a focus on preventive care instead of critical care.
It has been apparent in the A/E/C industry that change is afoot for the direction of the delivery of healthcare. Large hospitals are no longer the mainstay; instead when the economy tightened its grip, the industry saw an increase in the call for smaller hospitals, medical office buildings, and facilities that can support a patient-centered medical home. As we await the decision, will it mean something new for the field or will it be business as usual?
Regardless of the SCOTUS ruling, the course is set and at the heart of it all the decision will most certainly affect us all.
Click here for Health Center New Access Point grants, listed by organization and state.