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Nearly $900K in federal money earmarked for Georgia to aid COVID response in underserved communities

The White House announced funding through the American Rescue Plan this week.

ATLANTA — The White House this week announced that Georgia will receive nearly $900,000 in funding to aid the COVID-19 response in underserved communities.

The funding will come from American Rescue Plan money and is being administered through a Department of Heath and Human Services (HHS) program that supports "community-based health care providers that provide essential primary health care services to underserved communities and vulnerable populations" who do not otherwise have access to federal funding via HHS agencies.

The health providers are characterized as "look-alikes" to health care providers that get funding through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Health Center Program.

A "look-alike" is an "HRSA-designated health center that provides comprehensive, culturally competent, quality primary health care services consistent with Health Center Program requirements," according to the agency.

“The Biden Administration remains committed to ensuring our country’s most vulnerable communities get the resources they need and can access the quality health care they deserve,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement. “Health Center Program look-alikes are key players in the Administration’s efforts to address health inequities and support those disproportionately affected by COVID-19.”

According to a release, look-alike designated health centers served more than half a million patients in 2019.

"Currently, more than 89 percent of LAL patients live at or below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (a family of four making $26,500 or less per year), and more than 63 percent are racial or ethnic minorities," the release said.

According to a public listing of the awards that have been granted by the HRSA, the lone $889,375 award in Georgia has been granted to Southwest Georgia Healthcare Clinics, Inc. based out of Donalsonville in Seminole County.