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Almost a year later, Georgia and other states are still recovering from Hurricane Irma’s impact while a new season of storms linger in the Atlantic.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced on Thursday nearly $60 million awards will go to 161 community health centers in six southern states and two U.S. territories that were impacted by hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. Administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Capital Assistance for Hurricane Response and Recovery Efforts (CARE) funding will help ensure continued access to primary health care services at community health centers in areas affected by the hurricanes.

“Health centers serve as lifelines to services and networks of resources in their communities every day, and especially during a crisis,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “These grants build on other HHS investments to ensure that health centers can continue to serve communities impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, and strengthen their readiness to respond to the needs of the community after future hurricanes or other disasters.”

This funding was made available by the Bipartisan Budget Act, signed by President Trump in February. CARE offers capital assistance and support for minor alteration, renovation and equipment costs to assist impacted HRSA-funded health centers providing services in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, South Carolina and Texas as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“In the aftermath of the hurricanes, we granted affected health centers flexibility in the use of HRSA funds to ensure continuity of services and assist in recovery efforts,” said HRSA Administrator George Sigounas, MS, Ph.D. “This funding is the latest in HRSA’s efforts to support these communities as they continue to recover.”

For more than 50 years, health centers have delivered affordable, accessible, quality and cost-effective primary health care services to patients. Today, nearly 1,400 health centers operate more than 11,000 service delivery sites nationwide.

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