The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announces more than $260 million in awards to renovate, expand, or construct health centers.

These awards, to 290 health centers in 45 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, will be used to help renovate or acquire new clinical space to provide care to more than 800,000 new patients nationwide, according to a media release from HHS.

This recent award is on top of the nearly $150 million distributed to 160 health centers for construction and renovation in 2015.

Funding for the award comes from the Affordable Care Act’s Community Health Center (CHC) Fund, which was extended with bipartisan support in the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015, according to the release.

“Health centers are cornerstones of the communities they serve,” says HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell, in the release. “Today’s awards will empower health centers to build more capacity and provide needed health care to hundreds of thousands of additional individuals and their families.”

“Providing funding to help health centers renovate their facilities will allow them to provide care to more patients,” states HRSA Acting Associate Administrator Jim Macrae, in the release. “Perhaps more importantly though, health centers will now be able to provide more health services in one location, better meeting the needs of their communities.”

[Source: US Department of Health and Human Services]