Durbin Discusses American Rescue Plan, COVID-19 Response with Illinois Community Health Centers

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today met virtually with leaders from Illinois Community Health Centers (CHCs) and the Illinois Primary Health Care Association (IPHCA) to discuss President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, health disparities, and vaccine distribution in Illinois.  Durbin heard from CHCs about their efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, and highlighted his efforts to expand participation of Illinois CHCs within the new federal program that directly ships vaccines to CHCs.

“Illinois Community Health Centers have been an integral part of our COVID-19 response, providing essential health services to more than one million Illinoisans, regardless of their ability to pay.  That is why I am working to bring more vaccine shipments to CHCs in Illinois,” Durbin said.“President Biden’s Rescue Plan understood the value of CHCs by providing new funding, and I was proud to author a provision that will help increase their workforce through the National Health Service Corps.  I commend the Illinois Primary Health Care Association for their work to address the COVID-19 pandemic and provide quality, equitable care.”

The American Rescue Plan also included several priorities for CHCs, including $7.6 billion in dedicated CHC funding, $1 billion for a Durbin-authored provision on National Health Service Corps (NHSC) and Nurse Corps funding for scholarship and loan repayment awards, and $330 million for residency slots at CHCs through the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Program.  The American Rescue Plan also provided more than $65 billion for vaccination, testing, and public health efforts, as well as expanded health insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, and COBRA.

Illinois CHCs employ 7,600 staff and provide primary health care services to approximately 1.5 million Illinois residents at 52 health centers with 390 treatment sites in medically underserved urban and rural areas throughout the state.