WASHINGTON – More than $8.5 million in federal grant funds were announced Tuesday for community health centers throughout the state, including areas like Greensburg and Opelousas.
In a much bigger chunk of federal money, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., announced $148 million in a lump sum is finally going to St. Bernard Parish schools for facilities reconstruction after Hurricane Katrina heavily flooded most of the area nearly seven years.
The St. Bernard schools resolution also involves ending a tug-of-war to reduce penalties for not having enough flood insurance and other issues. The current plan is to build nine replacement school facilities, according to Landrieu.
“By providing a lump-sum payment and reducing penalties, we are empowering our school districts to rebuild smarter and stronger than before,” she said.
As for the community health center dollars, they were broken down state-by-state by U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
She stated in a release that the money should help the Louisiana communities serve more than 5,200 new patients in rural and urban areas.
For the federal “Building Capacity Program,” nearly $1.1 million is going to the Southwest Louisiana Primary Care Center in Opelousas and the Primary Health Services Center in Monroe is receiving $5 million.
In the “Immediate Family Improvement Program,” the Southeast Community Health Systems in Greensburg and the Teche Action Board, Inc. in Franklin each get $500,000.
Elsewhere, more than $497,000 goes to Access Health Louisiana in Luling; nearly $499,000 to the St. Thomas Community Health Center in New Orleans; and $491,000 to the David Raines Community Health Center in Shreveport.
Landrieu also applauded the health center funds in a prepared statement.
“For many people in our communities, health centers make the difference between accessing health care and not,” she stated. “These centers provide critical primary care services, and they do so in a cost-effective way.”