Affordable Care Act funding expands access to care in N.D.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced Thursday $150 million in awards under the Affordable Care Act to support 236 new health center sites across the country.

Community health centers work to improve access to “comprehensive, culturally competent, quality primary health care services.” They play an especially important role in delivering health care services in communities with historically high uninsurance rates. Also, community health centers are on the front line of helping uninsured residents enroll in new health insurance options available in the Health Insurance Marketplaces under the Affordable Care Act, through expanded access to Medicaid in many states and new private health insurance options and tax

credits.

The Northland Community Health Center in Turtle Lake, will receive $650,000 to serve a proposed additional 2,100 patients.

Patrick Butler, CEO of Northland Community Health Center, said they will be expanding services into Ward and Burke counties, specifically in Minot and Bowbells, to provide primary care to patients in those areas regardless of whether they can pay or not.

“There is a large need in those areas for patients who are at or below the poverty level,” said Butler for why the health center in Turtle Lake was one of the recipients of the grants. “We don’t want any patient to fall through the cracks,” he added. “We’ll be there for insured and uninsured patients.”

Butler said it was an exciting feeling to have received this grant. “It’s very exciting that we can bring services to Minot and Bowbells. With the impact of the oil in Bowbells and the flood in Minot, it’s exciting to get into the communities and help.”

Jill Hambek