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UGL receives COVID-19 response funds

UPPER PENINSULA – Upper Great Lakes Family Health Center (UGL) receives $3,840,000 to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines, testing, and treatment in communities hard hit by the virus and to increase operational capacity.

On March 25, the White House announced a historic investment of $6 billion dollars in the nation’s community health centers. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will release funds to nearly 1,400 health centers that provide primary care and preventive health services to 30 million people in urban and rural medically underserved communities.

“These funds will allow Michigan community health centers to expand COVID-19 vaccinations for vulnerable populations in an equitable manner, while at the same time providing preventive and primary health care services to those at high risk,” said Donald Simila, Chief Executive Officer of Upper Great Lakes Family Health Centers.

The funding, derived from the American Rescue Plan Act approved by Congress and signed into law by President Biden on March 18 recognizes the shared priorities between the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) and the Biden Administration to bring greater health equity to at-risk communities and populations that health centers serve on the health care frontlines every day. Tom Van Coverden, NACHC President and CEO, stated, “This is a historic investment. Not only is it aimed at ensuring equitable access to our patients in the fight against COVID, but it also marks a significant step forward to ensuring greater equity in the nation’s health system overall.”

More than 60% of health center patients are members of racial or ethnic minorities, and more than 91% of health center patients are individuals or families living at or below poverty levels.

Upper Great Lakes Family Health Center operates nine sites located throughout the Central and Western Upper Peninsula in Houghton, Iron, Marquette, Menominee, and Ontonagon Counties. More than 20,000 patients receive medical, dental, behavioral health, care management and enabling services. New patients are welcome and same day appointments are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Visit www.uglhealth.org for more information.

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