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FL gets $25M in new grants

By Carol Gentry
10/8/2010 Health News Florida

Four community health centers in Florida will share $14.5 million  for expansion, and five counties will share nearly $10 million for addiction treatment through federal grants announced today.

The five counties that will share a $9.7 million Access to Recovery grant over the next three years are Hillsborough, Orange, Palm Beach, Pasco, and Pinellas, according to Florida Department of Children and Families’ Substance Abuse Program Office. If funding permits, the grant may be extended to a fourth year and boosted to $12.9 million.

Minutes after the state agency released that information this morning, the department of Health and Human Services sent word of $727 million that is being granted to 143 community health centers across the country for "pressing construction and renovation needs" that will increase the number of uninsured families they can treat.

Four Florida health centers share in the money. The largest grant, $8.3 million, goes to Osceola County Health Department in Kissimmee.

North Broward Hospital District in Fort Lauderdale will receive $2.9 million, while North Florida Medical Centers in Tallahassee is to receive $2.75 million, the HHS release said.

The fourth grant, for just over $497,000, goes to Trenton Medical Center in Trenton. (Here is the list of winners for all states; here is the news release from HHS with more information on today's winners and links to background sheets on the program.)

The funds are the first in a series of awards that will be made available to community health centers under the new health law, the Affordable Care Act. These are Capital Development program grants administered by HHS’ Health Resources and Services Administration.

The addiction grant should cover treatment for an estimated 8,700 drug addicts and alcoholics, DCF said.  Three-fourths of those to be given treated and offered support services through the grant will be veterans and their families, individuals who have been arrested and those who have both substance abuse and a mental disorder, DCF said.
The Access to Recovery grant comes from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), part of the Department of Health and Human Services. 

Participants can choose where they receive clinical treatment and recovery support services from a network of community-based and faith-based providers in participating clients.

Stephenie W. Colston, DCF’s director of substance abuse services, said the grant will be used to increase outpatient detox, e-counseling, life skills training and use of Vivitrol, an FDA-approved drug used to treat alcoholism.

This is the second ATR grant for Florida. In 2004, DCF received a three-year $20.4 million grant that served more than 12,500 individuals in 21 counties.

The Department will begin enrolling providers in December and services will begin in January 2011, the release said.


Carol Gentry, founder and special correspondent of Health News Florida, has four decades of experience covering health finance and policy, with an emphasis on consumer education and protection.