Michigan health centers get $2.5M in federal funds to aid virus response

Melissa Nann Burke
The Detroit News

Washington — The federal Department of Health and Human Services has awarded Michigan $2.5 million in grants for 39 health centers to help respond to the coronavirus outbreak, officials said Tuesday. 

Health centers may use the funding to address screening and testing needs, acquire medical supplies like personal protective equipment and to boost their telehealth services as they treat patients amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency said. 

At least 11 Metro Detroit health centers received grant money ranging from about $53,000 to $75,000.

Michigan's allocation was part of $100 million awarded Tuesday to 1,381 health centers nationwide. 

Eleven Metro Detroit health centers received grant money that totaled $724,137, ranging from about $53,000 to $75,000 each. The money went to eight centers in Detroit, one in Pontiac, one in Inkster and one in Center Line. 

The funding comes from the $8.3 billion supplemental spending package that Congress passed earlier this month and that President Donald Trump signed. 

That package was targeted in part at vaccine research and development but allocated $1 billion for state and local response, including $100 million in funding for federally funded health centers distributed by the Health Resources and Services Administration.

“HRSA-funded health centers have been and will be critical players in our national response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement. 

The health centers provide primary care services to an estimated 28 million Americans, or 1 in 12 people nationwide, according to the HRSA. 

“These grantees operate 13,000 service delivery sites that are lifelines to services and networks of resources in their communities every day, and especially during a crisis,” HRSA Administrator Tom Engels said. 

Earlier this month, Michigan received $14.5 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help with its response to the coronavirus.

Michigan has 1,328 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Monday, with 15 deaths. 

Nationwide, cases have topped 44,100 and 544 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.